Taking Back Sunday
Taking Back Sunday
By Al Kaufman
Everything old is new again.
Taking back Sunday started in 1999 when a bunch of friends from Long Island got together to play their post-hardcore, emo rock. They had a few personnel changes, but released their first CD, Tell All Your Friends, in 2002. Mainstream success found them in 2004 with Where You Want to Be, and from then on they went through musicians faster than Winona Ryder. But while Ryder continues her search to find someone to make beautiful music with, Taking Back Sunday seemed to have settled down. The boys are back to the lineup from their Tell All Your Friends era. The result is a band that has re-found the passion that was missing during the lost years of 2007-2010.
In case anyone had any doubts, the self-titled CD opens with a hardcore assault of “El Paso.” From there things clean up a bit, but the anger and passion and questions of faith and mankind linger throughout. Adam Lazzara’s lyrics reach into areas usually outside of hard alt-rock territory. On the radio-friendly “To Be a Mom,” full of vocal harmonies, he empathizes on the difficulties of being a parent. On “This Is All Now,” the main character confronts his father about his years of child abuse. It would be easy to do this in a bile spewing hardcore way, but instead he asks questions to his platitude spilling father like, “Could you imagine Christ hitting a child?” On the beautiful album closer, he demonstrates his vulnerability in the gender role reversal “Call Me in the Morning,” when he whines that the woman left before he told her to call him.
But before you get to thinking this is another one of those bearded folky albums, this is the hardest Taking Back Sunday has rocked in a while. “Who Are You Anyway” lets loose on an Eddie Reyes guitar driven chorus. And both “It Doesn’t Feel a Thing Like Falling” and “Since You’re Gone” offer anthemic guitar riffs. “Since You’re Gone” sprinkles some piano in there as well.
“Sad Savior” is Queen-lite, but such theatrics are expected of a band that still clings to its emo roots. The earnestness is sometimes too much. Sometimes it feels like someone should just offer Lazzara a joint, or maybe some lithium. But if you like your music loud and bombastic, like a Chevy commercial for the Suicide Girls, Taking Back Sunday are your boys.