Released Sept. 17th on Dine Alone Records
Breaking from his main act Dashboard Confessional and the recently-reunited Further Seems Forever, Chris Carrabba’s new project Twin Forks is a folk rock act. Folk revivalism is the trend of recent years, with seemingly dozens of such acts popping up, but to dismiss Twin Forks as bandwagoners would be a mistake. Yes, there is a very Mumford & Sons vibe to the songs on this debut EP, but what sets the group apart from the pack are Carrabba’s distinctive voice, skillful guitar picking, and knack for writing songs that are catchy as hell both musically and emotionally. Growing up in semi-rural Connecticut and hearing acoustic singer-songwriters on the radio gave him an early love for folk music and helped inspire his musical path. A recent covers album found him revisiting these roots, and accompanying solo tours reminded him of the intimate audience connections formed at early Dashboard shows. Those experiences inform the music of Twin Forks, which aims to use classic country/folk elements to connect with fans afresh.
The musicality of Twin Forks is pretty impressive. Carrabba was already a very skilled acoustic guitarist, as fans of early Dashboard albums will recall, but for this new project he spent several years learning traditional fingerpicking which adds a new level of intricacy to his playing. In Twin Forks he’s backed by Suzie Zeldin on mandolin, Jonathan Clark on bass, and Ben Homola on drums, who bring some indie-folk pedigree with them; Zeldin comes from Long Island’s The Narrative, Homola from indie supergroup Bad Books. Carrabba and Zeldin’s harmonies are a highlight of this EP; his voice isn’t overpolished, and her delicate vocals complement his very well. The band kicks up a real hoedown on “Back to You” and “Something We Just Know”, both of which inspire boot-stomping and handclapping. “Cross My Mind” is led by a whistling melody sure to invite crowd participation. Really, any of these five songs would be right at home in a sunset setting at a county fair, where communal vibes and rural trappings inspire the kind of dancing that kicks up some dust.
Lyrically Carrabba is in fine form, weaving the kind of detail-oriented love stories that once made him emo’s poster boy. Lines like “we made new discoveries in the crowded back seat of a two-door Camry / And we left with barely a heart, a piece, just one heart a beating between us” would’ve fit well on a Dashboard Confessional record circa 2003. “I don’t have no ring but I can steal one on the way / I’ll be making good on all the promises I’ve made”, he sings on “Scraping Up the Pieces”, a stomping standout track with a very Flogging Molly-esque feel.
This EP is a fine debut and hopefully an indicator of good things to come from Twin Forks.