Released 28th June 2011 on Warner Bros.
Chart Performance: Taking Back Sunday reached the top 20 in the US but had to settle for a respectable no.87 in the UK.
What The Critics Said: “It’s a testament to Taking Back Sunday’s talent that the Rockville Centre-based band can turn essentially a transition album into something that sounds this good.” Newsday
Since forming in 1999, Taking Back Sunday have made enough line-up alterations to rival the Sugababes. The most recent shift involved the dismissal of bassist Matt Rubano and guitarist and back-up vocalist Matthew Fazzi and the ushering in of Shaun Cooper and John Nolan as replacements respectively, resulting in the line-up resembling exactly that of the band’s first album in 2001. This return to what many consider to be their “original” line-up, coupled with the album being a self-titled one suggests that the band are attempting to rediscover what they used to be. And, in a way, they do.
This album isn’t radically different stylistically to their previous output, however the songs are of more consistently good quality than on their last two albums, particularly their disappointing 2009 effort New Again. The reinstatement of Nolan on back-up vocal duty is particularly welcome, and coupled with lead singer Adam Lazzara’s ever-improving singing voice, mean that the vocals on this album are some of the strongest the band has produced.
Opening track “El Paso” is not only the best song on the album, but also one of their greatest songs ever. Lazzara’s feral howl, alongside what is perhaps the band’s heaviest guitar riff to date, make a powerful impact to start off the record. Fifth track “Who Are You Anyway?” is classic Taking Back Sunday, mixing dynamic verses with a massive, sing-a-long chorus. Other highlights include “Money (Let it go)”, which opens with a memorable fuzzy bass hook, and the guitar-driven, Jimmy-Eat-World-esque chorus of “It Doesn’t Feel a Thing Like Falling”. Of course the album isn’t without faults; despite the incredibly likeable chorus of single “Faith (When I Let You Down)”, the verse lyrics are just sappy enough that I find myself skipping it occasionally. On the whole, however, the record holds up as one of their best.
Although Taking Back Sunday don’t really venture anywhere new with this album, I believe that they return to the strong form of their earliest albums, which, if you’re a fan of the band, is brilliant news. More to the point this record provides a good body of new Taking Back Sunday songs to practice imaginary mic-swinging to (…Just me? Oh…). Hannah Watts