Album Reviews, Music

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday

There is great cynicism towards Taking Back Sunday– easy targets, drama kings- all are part of the conjecture volleyed towards them in the many years since their breakthrough 2002 album Tell All Your Friends. A band burdened by such weight would normally crumble- and it looked like they did when members Shaun Cooper and John Nolan left just a year later. Yet through the albums that followed, most notably the follow up Where You Want To Be and good portions of their major label debut Louder Now, the band proved every bit capable of turning any/all of the drama into the kind of emotionally histrionic songwriting they’re known for.

That is the crux of Taking Back Sunday– jagged edge rock guitars, post-hardcore sensibilities and that flair for the lyrical dramatics found in etched in your high school notebook over and over again. After seemingly hitting the skids with New Again in 2009, the band’s latest (and first with both Nolan and Cooper back in the lineup) fits somewhere in proximity to Louder Now. Its inexactness comes from much of the songs present as being some of the best material they’ve done since 2002/2004 but with the kind of sonic production that came with Louder Now.

A good many of the songs here rely on soaring choruses (the great single “Faith (When I Let You Down)”), biting dramatics (“Who Are You Anyway”?) and the kind of flair they exhibited in great tracks from their past like “This Photograph If Proof (I Know You Know)”. In fact, much of the album is like one “This Photograph” after another, which in the case of Taking Back Sunday, is a really good thing. Taking Back Sunday strips away the narrow scope of New Again and amplifies the core of what made them who they are into 10 (of the 11) succinct tracks. Only the opening “El Paso” seems like a slight stretch; relying instead on a messy, frenzied palette (look guys, you don’t need to show you “rock hard” at this point).

Sounding like a band truly comfortable in their skin once again, Taking Back Sunday is terrific, proof that growing up musically is terribly overrated. It’s great to hear this band old again. (Warner Bros.)


Taking Back Sunday debut new song

Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara is a little excited about the band’s new music and could not wait to share some new tunes with their fans. Lazzara has posted the first new song (which you can stream below) from the band’s upcoming follow up to 2008’s New Again. The track is tentatively titled “Best Places to be a Mom”.

The new material is the first to feature returning members Shaun Cooper and John Nolan, who returned to the fray after departing the band under less-than-amicable circumstances in 2003. The new album is due out sometime in 2011.

After initial listens, we are pretty excited about their new material, and while one song isn’t a reliable indicator of the entirety of their new album, this song is a great place to start.

“Best Places To Be a Mom”

Album Reviews, Music

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Live From Orensanz

There is absolutely no doubt about Taking Back Sunday’s rabid, cult-like following. While these last two live releases (this outing along with 2009’s Live from Bamboozle) may have been mere contractual obligations, it is still with merit that their often memorable live shows be documented in some form or another. Live From Bamboozle was a fairly decent showing of what this band is like on a grand live scale, It was however, rather tacky and lacking (being as it was an iTunes exclusive), but Live from Orensanz is a far more complete offering. Recorded over two New York acoustic shows from Angel Orensanz, this album breathes a more atmospheric feel to their music.

Away from the massive crowds of Bamboozle, the intimate setting gives tracks like “A Decade Under the Influence” and “Cute Without the E (Cut From the Team)” a new kind of appeal. It is refreshing to visit these songs stripped down, proving that they’re very much as good unplugged as they are with the volume turned up to eleven. The set list is a fare representation of their career- sticking to mostly recognized songs from all their releases without any real surprises. It is however, the way some of these songs sound that may be the real surprise, most notably their acoustic cut of “My Blue Heaven” which is just terrific. Live from Orensanz is better than Live from Bamboozle, but I’m sure someday a more complete, extensive live offering from them will be on display. Until then, this isn’t a bad way at all to get out of that pesky major label deal. (Warner Bros)

[xrr rating=3/5]