So, I have all the CDs in the Dashboard catalog, and I readily admit that I like them all. Equally. There seem to be two types of DC fans out there: those who wish every single song, album, or DVD should be exactly the same as Chris' very first musical efforts- depressed, emotionally involved and 100% acoustic. Then there are those who think that all of his musical output should be mostly acoustic, but a couple of drums here and there are tolerable- as long as the songs are depressing and reminiscent of failed high school crushes. I can deal with either. Personally, I like the "depressing" aspect of his work; it's easy to feel emotionally close and identify with his music and lyrics because everyone feels pretty crappy about the opposite sex at times. The danger lies in the expectation that ONLY acoustic strumming and raw, heartfelt singing can possibly capture those feelings. I think that sometimes, a slow, sad and acoustic song is the way to go, but I also can appreciate the heavy drums and bass work coming along with it. So, while I actually really like "Dusk and Summer," I also really like this CD. It does have more drums and bass than earlier CDs, and Chris does sing differently than his first few albums, but it works. Obviously, he is older, and hopefully a little less depressed about life, and the resulting mix is good.
It all comes down to expectations- if you expect Chris to remain perpetually depressed and pining over the same heartbreaking crush from around 1989, then "Dusk and Summer" probably shattered your delicate and frail heart, and this new CD may not satisfy you; but if you expect that all musicians do, or at least should, grow and explore new things, then this CD may suit you. Really, he can only make one "Swiss Army Romance," and to expect every CD to follow in that same exact pattern is unfair and sad.