Review of Taking Back Sunday's album New Again.
Taking Back Sunday and Brand New are two bands with which an interesting experiment can be performed. Jesse Lacey of the latter band started off as TBS' bassist, also contributing backing vocals. He left to play in The Rookie Lot and went from there to form Brand New, where each album they have released has significantly improved on the former. They've experimented with styles, shifting between genres seamlessly, all to great effect. The song writing throughout all of their albums is fantastic.
Taking Back Sunday, on the other hand, as ex-member Fred Mascherino states, is a band 'more about cooking food than making music,' citing confusion and fights in the band about who was going to write the songs as his reason for leaving. They are a band who, despite Tell All Your Friends being a great album, never really progressed past that point. Of course, with an extra lineup change, comes a slightly new sound, and the idea of this being a new start for the band is something that the PR machine is pushing- and the band are none too subtle about the whole thing, calling the album New Again.
Listening to it yields interesting results. The songs are above average for the most part, but the production here provides so much polish that it will take a number of listens to even start to hear the songs themselves. First time round, all I hear is vocals stunted by the sheer number of overdubs, even on the harder tracks such as Lonely, Lonely, Cut Me Up Jenny and Catholic Knees. It's a little bit annoying really, I'm sure most of this material would be great live- after listening a few times through the album starts to sound a little bit Saddle Creek, a little Desaparecidos, a little Cursive, which is a great direction for the band to head in. They just need to find their groove, stop letting their label rope them into writing songs for film soundtracks and maybe they'll find some space to write some great songs again. TBS to me, always seems like a band that doesn't quite have it all together- this album confirms what I thought.
Official Site - http://www.takingbacksunday.com