TBS At Their Addictive Best
A remarkable debut album is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the accolades you attain propel you into the limelight but with it come the expectation that the next will be bigger and better, a curse that has befallen Taking Back Sunday. 2002’s ‘Tell All Your Friends’ was so well received that the subsequent three albums have always been deemed as paling in significance, marred by simply not breaching the line ‘Tell All Your Friends’ set, resulting in often unfair criticism falling at the band’s feet. But now we are seven years down the line, things have changed in the TBS camp, mostly notably the band that assailed onto the scene all those years ago no longer exists, line up changes resulting in only two of the original TBS members actually still left in the band. As such, TBS are new again, fittingly so as the aptly titled ‘New Again’ album states, as they step forward to prove once more that they still have the spark of 2002 to overwhelm us all.
Never ones to drag their dirty laundry through the press, ‘New Again’ finds Adam Lazzara getting all of his personal demons off his chest through his lyrics as the his sharp wit and razor sharp tongue cut deep. Sugar coated to perfection, ‘New Again’ dazzles with its pop fuelled hooks that guarantee Lazzara’s lyrical blows slide by with effortless grace, only later injecting the full impact of their meaning from the riff heavy ‘Summer Man’ and its cryptic lines that can only be aimed at ex-guitarist/singer/song-writer Fred Mascherino through to Lazzara actually attacking himself with the introspectively honest ‘Where My Mouth Is’ in which the front man tackles everything from his rumoured drug use to the departing of friends from the band (“And I put my money where my mouth was// Until I couldn't breathe through my nose//And now I'm staring at the floor//Where my second life just ended//Where I lost not one but two friends”) all sung with such sincerity and sweetness to guarantee that the gleam of TBS still shines, irresistibly appealing as the hook heavy wonder of the band reels you in once more. And yes, TBS are still the band to whom everyone is striving to catch when it comes to the mighty infectious hook and no more is this evident than on lead single, ‘Sink In To Me’ a colossus of hand claps, shout out loud “heys”, chugging guitars and contagious lyrics that become more addictive with each listen.
Unbelievably though there’s more to TBS than catchy tunes, and whilst each track on ‘New Again’ is laced with infectiousness that refuses to budge, there is also a certain darkness within the songs. From the riff heavy guitars that stab and pound right through to Lazzara’s truthful and unflinchingly honest lyrics that pierce the cheery décor of the songs, most notably on ‘Capital M-E’ and the pain filled honesty of album closer ‘Everything Must Go’, a song dealing with a breakdown of a relationship that gently unfolds into a raging whirlwind of guitars as Lazzara howls “You quote the Good Book// When it's convenient// But you don't have the sense// No you don't have the sense//To tie your tangled tongue//Instead you're slashing through the mud”, creating an intensity that was not evident before, bolstering the tracks to a new level. Yes, the catchiness is there, but with it comes the heartache and pent up emotions of a band that have experienced so much in such a short time, making for an album that brings everything to the table.
This is TBS at their addictive best, proving that whilst they may be ‘New Again’, the old charm and sparkle is very much alive and kicking.