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    Dashboard Confessional

    A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (2004 Bonus DVD)

    Dashboard Confessional - A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (2004 Bonus DVD)


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    All Music Guide Review

    Upon its initial release A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar contained a standard-issue bonus DVD, but what's more noteworthy is that the album was reissued nine months later with a new limited-edition bonus DVD, containing the group's appearance on MTV2's program Album Covers. The idea behind the show is an ingenious one -- get a modern band to cover an album they loved. Album-length covers have been in vogue since the '80s, when indie rock bands began deconstructing classic rock legends. Pussy Galore were the first to release an album, with their take on the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, but it was nearly impossible to find. In fact, the album-length cover was more than anything the stuff of rumor -- Sonic Youth's version of the Beatles' White Album was always seemingly at hand, something the group slyly acknowledged by titling their Ciccone Youth side project The Whitey Album, while Camper Van Beethoven's Tusk wasn't released until the 2000s -- but the idea took hold. In the '90s, Phish were famous for performing album covers on their Halloween concerts, and the concept slowly entered the mainstream, with M2 debuting Album Covers in 2004. Dashboard Confessional kicked off the show with their version of R.E.M.'s dour 1992 masterpiece Automatic for the People. This is a concept that holds promise for fans of either group, but the show itself is botched since the producers are never content to let the band simply play. Instead, every performance is butchered with subpar home-computer editing techniques, cutaways to R.E.M.'s promotional videos for the songs, or, worst of all, interviews are aired while the band is playing. It's an infuriating technique, but perhaps the producers thought that Dashboard were in need of a little visual flair since they're so steadfastly earnest and dull in live performances. It kind of works against them since the clip of David Essex performing "Rock On" -- the inspiration for "Drive" -- in 1973 is a more compelling performance than Dashboard. Which is kind of the problem with the show in general; the group's version of Automatic for the People, though it reveals heretofore unexpected ties between R.E.M. and emo, pales to the original. Of course, it doesn't help that the group, at least on the televised show, doesn't cover all of the album. Those of you hoping to hear Dashboard Confessional tackle "Ignoreland" and "Monty Got a Raw Deal" are out of luck -- with the exception of "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight," they just tackle the dark ballads that form the heart of Automatic, and while that may be more emo, it makes for turgid listening. It also reveals what a limited singer Chris Carrabba is; he admits that he doesn't have the "rich" voice of Michael Stipe, so he compensates by relying on the shrill, keening emotive yelp that's his stock-in-trade. It's a style that's appropriate for his own songs, yet does not suit R.E.M.'s songs, turning them all into dirges. It may not make for great music, but it is an interesting exercise, and it's a good bonus for hardcore Dashboard fans and curious R.E.M. fans alike. Oh, the bonus materials are thin -- longer interview clips with the band and Michael Stipe, who guests on "Drive" and Dashboard's own "Hands Down" -- but having the full-length version of the Clique's "Superman," which R.E.M. popularized on Lifes Rich Pageant, is very nice, particularly since it's the only cover on this entire enterprise that's any fun. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

    Credits of A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (2004 Bonus DVD)

    • Mike Marsh
    • Percussion, Drums, Vocals (Background), Group Member
    • John Lefler
    • Organ, Group Member, Guitar, Piano, Vocals (Background)

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