It's a familiar situation really: Emotional indie rock boy starts off in moderately tough-guy band (in this case rockers Further Seems Forever), gets fed up, and realizes that he can write some pretty heartfelt acoustic tunes that the kids might actually enjoy. For Chris Carrabba, the dream of too many late-night troubadours actually came true, and on his second full-length he's got plenty of heartache to go along with some fairly catchy songs. Performing with a foot firmly entrenched in the indie and emo scenes, Carrabba has some obvious influences, especially the nearly identical Get Up Kids offshoot the New Amsterdams. Nonetheless, he does have his own strong vocal presence and, while a bit cheesy, his lyrics are the perfect companion to a night of overwrought teenage emotions. Relying mostly on the acoustic guitar, The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most also features a full, though subdued, backing band on a number of tracks, an addition that gives the record some depth and makes it a bit easier to put up with. Carrabba is smart enough to know a good hook when he hears it, and even when he's bogged down by the self-involved and down-on-his-luck sentiments that cripple the record, he's still knocking on the door of the radio-friendly pop hit. This is a record made with a specific audience in mind, and it's easy to see why many might abhor Dashboard Confessional's spurned teenage tones, but if you're under 20 and plan on staying in your room all night crying about that girl who just dumped you, then there is no point in looking further than this record.
Review by Peter J. D'Angelo