Long before he became something of a shorthand for all those amazing jokes about emo and Myspace and Florida, basically the holy trinity of early 2kz troll game, that we were all telling a few years back, Chris Carrabba, aka Dashboard Confessional, was a member of one of the most influential post-hardcore bands of the turn of the millennium, Further Seems Forever. He would depart the band just before their seminal 2001 album The Moon Is Down would come out, changing the course of how a huge subsection of the nation’s mopey teenagers would mope around teenagerly for the rest of decade. The band went on to record a couple more records with two other frontmen, Jason Gleason for 2003′s How To Start a Fire, and Jon Bunch for Hide Nothing in 2004 both of which had some memorable high points, but nothing that ever matched the original magic of the first record.
Last year he rejoined the original lineup of guitarists Josh Colbert and Nick Dominguez, drummer Steve Kleisath and bass player Chad Neptune for a series of shows that were, to put it mildly for old emo kids like myself, kind of a thing.
I interviewed Carrabba at the time in the Boston Phoenix:
For fanboys of a certain, oh, let’s call it a distinguished temporal status, it was the emo-nerd equivalent of leaked footage from a new Star Wars installment showing up online: last August, the long-pined-for defunct Florida band Further Seems Forever released a video of themselves rehearsing their 2001 anthem “The Moon Is Down.” Big deal, right? Maybe, but the fact that the band’s original singer, Chris Carrabba, appeared in the short clip, which ended with the word “spring,” was the best news people like me — I mean them . . . okay, us — could’ve possibly gotten, short of all of our high-school girlfriends showing up in a time machine to say sorry for breaking our hearts that one time.”
The shows were, well, ok, I cried if you must know. Are you happy now? Then, we figured, that would be the end of that, a nice one off, and we’d go back to remembering the good old days, like one does, rocking ourselves to sleep at night with memories of that one time this one girl we almost made out with may or may not have looked at us from across a crowded basement show. (Things were weird back then).
That was only the beginning, actually. The band has a new record called Penny Black due out next month on Rise Records, the first in many years, and tracks like the recently posted “Rescue Trained” are just as romantically harrowing and cathartic as ever, with stop and start time changes and intricately woven guitars laying the frame for Carrabba’s rending-of-garments-core.
In anticipation of the new record, I thought I’d go back and share these, the highlights of the widely beloved, but still woefully under-appreciated band’s catalog.
“Light Up Ahead”
This track from 2004′ Hide Nothing sung by Jon Bunch is a bit more reserved than some of the band’s other most memorable tracks, but it’s a favorite among old school emo heads with a soft spot for the former Sensefield singer all the same.
There’s a reason why this was the only FSF song that he didn’t originally sing on that Carrabba performed on the last reunion tour — Gleason’s scorching vocal here is the epitome of the band at their best, with sharp peaks and valleys leaving a trail of blackened hearts in its path.
“The Moon Is Down”
A generation of Warped Tour bands learned how to torch the shit out of their vocal chords trying to sing this one. “We’re all the terminal cases”, Carrabba sings, presciently.
“Snowbirds and Townies”
Filmed right after Carrabba departed, this video put the band in the awkward position of having their new frontman lip synch a song that he didn’t record. Didn’t matter, it’s still one of the most beautiful tracks about romance on vacation ever written. “On these boats ride the hopes of working class boys dreaming of girls from far away points, and better things like winter flings, and longing after spring has sprung,” may well be the most quintessential emo lyric ever written. Sounds goofy, but anyone who’s ever wandered around a lonely town wondering why they can’t meet anyone will know how it feels.
“New Year’s Project”
“I’m waiting to give you whatever the world may bring. I’d give you my life cause I don’t own anything. It seemed like the bottom was all that I had until now. I’d give you my life if you’d give me yours somehow.” I’m sorry but if that doesn’t do anything for you, especially hearing the desperate tone it’s sung in here, then maybe you’ve never really been in love with someone.