June 28th, 2011 saw the release of Taking Back Sunday’s eponymous, 5th Studio album as well as the band’s return to it’s (for all intents and purposes) original lineup. Historically, TBS has been a group not afraid to alter their lineup for the benefit of the band but as of late 2010 and the initiation of work on this record, they have returned to something familiar. In addition to the re-joining of original guitarist/vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper, the band has teamed up with Louder Now producer, Eric Valentine. Though the personnel on this project are anything but new, the result is an album that shows considerable musical maturity and variance.
The album opens with “El Paso” which is undoubtedly the heaviest track the band has recorded to date, however, that weight is met with more sensitive, flowing cuts along the lines of “Since You’re Gone.” Another theme that stands out on this record is the band’s definitive reference to rock icons and influences, Queen and The Who with tracks like “Sad Savior” where Adam Lazzara’s vocals bare unmistakable likeness to those of Freddie Mercury and on “Call Me In The Morning” which features an intro strongly evocative of “Baba O’Riley.”
Don’t think that this album exists devoid of musical pleasures for long-time fans though, there’s plenty of classic TBS to go around on this record. For example, songs such as “This is All Now” and “Best Places to Be A Mom” showcase time-honored vocal call and response phrasings between Lazzara and Nolan. Furthermore, the album as a whole holds up to the energy and power of earlier releases circa 2002, yet still manages to provide a stage on which the band can showcase the favorable progress they’ve made since the last time this lineup released a record.
Most TBS fans will tell you that the glory days were lived years ago when this now re-united lineup was fresh and energized, but I think it’s safe to say that the future of this band is once again looking bright.