Taking Back Sunday – Self-Titled


Album

Self-Titled

Label

Warner Bros. Records

Year

2011

For Fans Of

Thursday - Brand New - My Chemical Romance

Summary

The best so far from an emo rock mainstay.

Rating

90 / 100

It’s been a long wait for Taking Back Sunday fans since 2009’s New Again, an album I personally found quite a disappointing effort from one of my favourite bands. But fortunately, with this year’s self titled release, Taking Back Sunday are back with a refined, powerful vengeance.

Frontman Adam Lazzara’s vocals are better than ever, and this album is undeniably Taking Back Sunday at their finest. Polishing the coarse edges present on the likes of New Again, this album sees one of emo rock’s longest running bands maturing, refining and perfecting their sound. Everything on this album flows so perfectly from start to finish, with seamless layering of guitars curving gracefully into those distinctive heavy Taking Back Sunday choruses we know and love.

Upon hearing opener ‘El Paso’, you’ll immediately notice the heavier, more aggressive sound of the album. Guitar driven and packing a definite punch, this is the perfect introduction to a strong album, alive with energy. The guitar work on this entire album is impeccable, and the band sounds more cohesive and consistent than ever. ‘Faith (When I Let You Down)’ reminds me of early Good Charlotte, melodious and lyrically simple, but wholly engaging with singalong bridges and a powerful chorus. ‘Sad Saviour’ flows beautifully from slow, bare acoustics, layering up into a powerful, melodious chorus. Here the improvement in Lazzara’s vocals is most evident; he has matured incredibly from the days of Tell All Your Friends into a unique, refined and talented vocalist.

Money (Let it Go)’ is dance-inducing, reminiscent of recent My Chemical Romance but with a distinct Taking Back Sunday sound. This track is a highlight, gloriously melodious in the verses with a powerful rock’n’roll chorus and an irresistible bassline. ‘This Is All Now’ sees the album slowing down, with slow, crunchy guitar verses and engaging introspective vocals, leading into its heavy, ambitious chorus with dual screaming vocals of Lazzara and John Nolan.

It Doesn’t Feel a Thing Like Falling‘ is more indie influenced, with a touch of synth, but a typical Taking Back Sunday chorus of layered, heavy guitar melodies and uplifting shouts of “It doesn’t feel thing like falling”. ‘You Got Me’ is mature, perfected pop-punk. With stark vocals and ‘whoa-oh’s leading into its punchy chorus, its catchy pop-punk riffs and fast-paced drums make for a damn catchy track, one of the best on the album.

Stunning album closer ‘Call Me in the Morning’ begins with impeccable guitar layering and strangely Counting Crows reminiscent vocals, flowing into a perfectly atmospheric and charming chorus. The whole track climbs in incredible crescendo, to Lazarra and Nolan shouting in perfect vocal harmony “Call me in the morning/ call me when you’re home/ I know what you’ve been through/ don’t let go”. A treasure of a track to end what is a near flawless album.

This 11-track album doesn’t have a hint of filler, and each track is perfectly crafted and polished. Coming from a long-time Taking Back Sunday fan, this album is a triumph after 2009’s underwhelming effort New Again, and is hopefully a sign of much more Taking Back Sunday brilliance in future.

Conclusion

This is Taking Back Sunday’s best effort yet, and a great return from what was a fairly average album in New Again. Powerful, well-produced, well-crafted, this is simply an incredible album.

Tracklisting

1. El Paso
2. Faith (When I Let You Down)
3. Best Places to Be a Mom
4. Sad Savior
5. Who Are You Anyway?
6. Money (Let It Go)
7. This Is All Now
8. It Doesn’t Feel a Thing Like Falling
9. Since You’re Gone
10. You Got Me  
11. Call Me in the Morning

15 Responses to “Taking Back Sunday – Self-Titled”

  1. qfillmore

    What about “Who Are You Anyway?” and “Since You’re Gone”…..I heard a snippet of the first one and really enjoyed it, and I heard the second one was really good…..what’s your take???

  2. lucyvalentine

    @qfillmore (3): Yeah they’re both great, especially Since You’re Gone. Not really a bad track on the album, to be honest. Can’t wait ’til people get to hear it.

  3. lucyvalentine

    @ZakMcD (5): Nah, I just like to lie in my reviews and pretend a band is one of my favourites, then specifically list that one album I’ve ‘actually heard’ as the one that disappointed me……..

  4. burgo

    i initially read the 50 rating at the top, went “aww shit”, then saw the KYS rating, and went “aww yeah!”. and damn, i always enjoy your reviews.

  5. SteveC SteveC

    Nothing can top Tell All Your Friends for me, but this album def rocks, and it’s great to see Nolan back with the band.

  6. Winnebago83

    new again was actually very good, and i was insulted by the comparisons to early good charlotte, mcr and the counting crows. surprised no one seems to be talking about “best places to be a mom”…got an early taste of it browsing around on grooveshark the other day, and i probably listened to it 20 times before i got my hands on the rest of the album. for me, it’s a tbs throwback complete w/the “you know how i do”-esque riff between the 1st and 2nd verses. faith is growing on me too

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