Haters, listen up. Taking Back Sunday isn’t Tell All Your Friends – it didn’t have to be, nor should it have been. Sure, the original lineup (John Nolan, guitar, Shaun Cooper, bass) has reunited and Taking Back Sunday stalwarts did the smart and necessary thing by purging all toxins from within its ranks (yeah, you know the names by now), but that doesn’t immediately mean its 2002 again. No, Taking Back Sunday has changed regardless of the familiar faces, a change necessitated by the times, as well as the bands willingness to avoid having history repeat itself. So, again haters, while Taking Back Sunday isn’t Tell All Your Friends (or even Where You Want to Be to a lesser extent), at least it’s not a full-on continuation of New Again, which is something most people should be happy about.
These are more than a few heavy hitting outings throughout the eponymous work, beginning immediately with opening salvo “El Paso,” and the thunderous offerings continue with the oddly titled, but nostalgic sounding “Best Places to Be a Mom.” “This is All Now” is one of the bands strongest tracks in recent memory, one that successfully employs many, if not all, of the bands primary sonic weapons – driving guitars, soft builds, crashing crescendos, and back and forth vocals. It’s a bit reminiscent of the TBS we all fell in love with back in the day (you know, before you realized the Fred experiment wasn’t working), but it’s a track that shows progress with a lean towards maturity. And speaking of maturity, Adam Lazzara’s songwriting trends that way for the most part throughout Taking Back Sunday, and whether he is begging us not to lose our faith in him (“Faith (When I Let You Down)”) or offering up scads of apologies (“Since You’re Gone”) to jilted acquaintances/friends/lovers/anyone who’s listening, his songwriting abilities have vastly improved and perhaps it’s the best we’ve seen out of him yet, showcasing the fact that, if nothing else, he has indeed beaten his multitude of demons. Kudos to you Adam.
Taking Back Sunday sounds less like old hat Taking Back Sunday and more a Taking Back Sunday of the future, and judging by this latest batch of songs, the future for these Long Island products looks pretty bright.