What is it with Taking Back Sunday and line up changes? Almost every other album, there’s at least a new guitarist. At one point, this dramatically affected their sound (on Where You Want To Be, for example), but this time, it still feels like Taking Back Sunday. And that’s good. That’s really good.
The particular edition I’m reviewing is the Taking Back Sunday New Again car kit, which comes with all kinds of wonderful toys such as a TBS flash drive, a t-shirt, exclusive web content and b-sides and much more. Something that doesn’t change is Taking Back Sunday’s dedication to its fans, and this limited edition is decently priced for the amount of extras you get with it. And of course, who can resist a tongue in cheekadvert in true Taking Back Sunday style?
So, onto the actual music! The album opens with the track New Again, a proclamation of their new incarnation. It’s sharp, it’s punchy, it hits you with the force of a freight train and it’s incredible. New Again is definitely one of the best tracks on the album and the best one to open with for sure. Sink Into Me, the first single, is up next, and it’s a delicious affair with some provocative lyrics and a great chorus. I can guarantee you’ll be singing it for days. The album is consistently great. No song sounds the same, but each song has Adam’s ferocious vocals and that crisp guitar sound that Taking Back Sunday have always had and it works. Some personal highlights are Swing and Cut Me Up, Jenny. Swing is a fairly upbeat affair with some great riffs, and Cut Me Up, Jenny is one of the more emotional songs on the album, reminiscent of A Decade Under The Influence, another of my favourite Taking Back Sunday songs. Lyrically, Taking Back Sunday haven’t weakened either, with some of my new favourite lines coming from this album. The chorus to
Swing is fantastic, and the viciousness of Carpathia and the way Adam sings it is sublime. Carpathia is also the only song in which Matt Fazzi’s presence is really noticeable, which is a shame, because it would be good to hear him in some of the other songs, so it would be interesting to see how they perform live. The album also ends strongly, with Everything Must Go, a heart-wrenching finale which is the best song on the album.
This time, Taking Back Sunday are claiming to be ‘New Again’, and I suppose in some respects, you could say that they are. The introduction of guitarist Matt Fazzi has resulted in the removal of one of the key TBS characteristics – that back and forth between Adam and the guitarist that we’ve been so familiar with. Is it something I miss? Considering my favourite Taking Back Sunday album is Tell All Your Friends, I guess it is. However, the band are flourishing with the new formula, and this is one of the strongest Taking Back Sunday albums since the beginning. That said, it doesn’t feel unfamiliar. This is still the Taking Back Sunday I know and love, but this time, packing a greater punch than ever before. New Again indeed.
4 out of 5 high fives!