Before we even get started, let's get one thing clear: Taking Back Sunday is not the same band that released Tell All Your Friends. Taking Back Sunday is not the same band that released Louder Now. Taking Back Sunday is not the same band that released the atrocity that was New Again. Let's backtrack a little. Yes, the band is comprised of the same men that penned Tell All Your Friends, but let's remember, the year is now 2011 and these men are just that; men. No longer angsty teens, but (semi)-mature adults, with girlfriends and/or wives and children. And that's quite alright, as the band takes a new approach to their craft. Instead of angst-filled, teenage anthems, they are now showing a mature side to their song-writing. While this will alienate some fans, Taking Back Sunday is sure to reinvigorate a career that was last seen taking a swan dive.
Perhaps the most refreshing thing about Taking Back Sunday is the reconciliation of Adam Lazzara and John Nolan. One listen will show that the chemistry the two shared on Tell All Your Friends was not a one album fluke, as opener "El Paso" proves. Lazzara sounds good, albeit a bit nasally at times, and Nolan's screams are the perfect compliment to this. Drummer Mark O'Connell shines, providing the backbone that really drives the track. "Fatih (When I Let You Down)" feels like an apology to fans, as Lazzara sings "But when I let you down / Please, look past your doubt / Please, don't lose your faith in me." Musically speaking, "Best Places To Be A Mom" could have been a b-side to Louder Now, with its crisp guitar lines and the soaring chorus.
"Who Are You Anyway" is a bass heavy track, which quickly shifts its focus and provides another soaring chorus. The intertwining vocals of Nolan and Lazzara are very reminiscent of "Cute Without the E" on this track, with the two trading lines of "I still have all these questions / You're all talk no follow through / And when I ask you for an answer / That's when you say you'll have one soon." "You Got Me," perhaps the best track on the record, shows the band at it's most aggressive, which is exactly what has been missing from Taking Back Sunday: aggression. Lazzara sings his lungs out, while the band keeps pace behind him, never letting his frantic yelps go to waste.
To say that this album is perfect would be a massive overstatement, it's quite the contrary. There are a couple missteps along the eleven tracks that make up Taking Back Sunday. "Money (Let It Go)" sounds like an attempt at a radio-ready track, which is nothing to be ashamed of, however it sounds like a track that The Pink Spiders would have written (albeit slightly more aggressive). As previously stated, Lazzara's vocals do sound a bit nasally throughout the entire album, specifically in tracks such as "El Paso" and "Since You're Gone."
While Taking Back Sunday has made up some ground that they lost with 2009's New Again, they still have a long way to go. Taking Back Sunday has regained its confidence that the band lost when Fred Mascherino left. The band is at it's best when cranking out more aggressive tracks, such as "El Paso," and "You Got Me," while tracks such as closer "Call Me In The Morning" and "Since You're Gone" do seem to slow the album down ever so slightly. Whatever your expectations are for this album, forget them. In fact, forget everything you know about Taking Back Sunday, as Lazzara and Nolan plead in "El Paso:" "do your best to forget / ...I'll do my best to forget." Listen with an open mind, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
2. Faith (When I Let You Down)
3. Best Places To Be A Mom
4. Sad Savior
5. Who Are You Anyway?
6. Money (Let It Go)
7. This Is All Now
8. It Doesn't Feel A Thing Like Falling
9. Since You're Gone
10. You Got Me
11. Call Me In The Morning
Taking Back Sunday originally formed in Amityville, New York, USA in 1999. The band has gone through several lineup changes. Their first release came in 2001 with the Taking Back Sunday EP, and featured Antonio Longo on vocals, John Nolan on guitar and backing vocals, Eddie Reyes on guitar (the original founder of the band), Jesse Lacey, Adam Lazzara and Mark O'Connell replaced Stevie D) they released the follow-up album Tell All Your Friends, which was produced by Sal Villaneuva. The album gave the band a first taste of success in the scene. ... read more