Taking Back Sunday have been through numerous line-ups over the years. Their debut album, Tell All Your Friends, shot them to international fame, and was nothing short of passionate and raw. The line-up from that revered release is now back together, and they recently came out with their fifth album – Taking Back Sunday.
Opening with the thumping “El Paso”, the band roars to life, and they aren’t just roaring for the sake of it. “El Paso” says everything about the band’s transformation and attitude – this is a fresh start. The album never quite returns to that sense of aggression or tension, but what follows will please fans to no end.
“Faith (When I Let You Down)” feels grandiose, almost to the point of encroaching on 30 Seconds To Mars territory, and “Best Places To Be A Mom” picks up the pace. “Who Are You Anyway?” has one of the most compelling choruses of the release, while “Money (Let It Go)“ brings out a great, bouncing bass line.
“This Is All Now” is the stand-out of the album, and I believe one of the stand-outs of their career. It’s the perfect mix of an interesting yet subtle guitar riff, and the band’s more powerful side.
“Call Me In The Morning” slows it down a bit to finish, and for everything that’s come before, it just doesn’t feel right. It’s a let down in what is otherwise a fairly solid album.
The interesting thing is that despite all the hype, this isn’t a complete reinvention of the band. But maybe that’s a good thing. TBS have managed to sustain their career in a niche that seems to be quite fickle, and it’s because their work is consistently solid. Don’t expect Taking Back Sunday to be a throwback to the old days, because it isn’t. It’s polished (in a good way), and for all of its exploding choruses, it’s a pop-punk record at its heart. Some songs are a bit hit and miss, but for what it’s worth, this is one of their best releases in recent years.
Taking Back Sunday have still got it.
– Jeremy Stevens