Album Review: Taking Back Sunday - 'Self-Titled'

5 June 2011 | 6:34 pm | Staff Writer

The best so far from an emo rock mainstay.

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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.

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.

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

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