Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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

Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday
Warner Bros. Records
June 28, 2011


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


Rating: 7/10
Key Tracks: "This Is All Now," "Best Places to be a Mom," "Money (Let It Go)"

Last March, Taking Back Sunday’s line-up took the least expected turn. Matt Rubano, their bassist of seven years, and Matt Fazzi, their guitarist for the short New Again era, were suddenly out. I doubt a single fan expected then that those members would be replaced by Shaun Cooper and John Nolan, the bassist and guitarist/vocalist respectively, from TBS’s Victory Records debut Tell All Your Friends.

It wasn’t an early April Fool’s joke as many fans had assumed. The old TBS was back with the message: “Sometimes it takes some time to remember where you were headed in the first place and the people you intended to go there with. There’s no hard feelings, just the future.”

Since then, the expectations have been all over the place and curiosity high for TBS’s latest release, Taking Back Sunday.

First of all-- Tell All Your Friends Part Duex, the new self-titled album is not. However, fans who wanted to hear more from the old times can indulge in the iTunes deluxe version of the album, whereupon TAYF tracks “Great Romances of the 20th Century” and “Ghost Man On Third” have received the 2011 TBS acoustic treatment.

That is not to say that those who, when they heard the Tell All Your Friends line-up had returned, thought the band would revert to “Old TBS” will be disappointed. Songs like “Best Places to be a Mom,” “Who Are You Anyway?” and “This Is All Now” capture that essence.

That’s also not to say that Taking Back Sunday have done any old-sound-recycling for their latest release. None of the tracks sound like their forefathers. This is, indeed, a new Taking Back Sunday (not a New AGAIN TBS, mind you).

The most distinct difference in sound appears where Taking Back Sunday swoops to a slower sound (“Sad Savior,” “Call Me In The Morning”) and does it in an almost folksy way. That may be a result of vocalist Adam Lazzara’s gritted-teeth and drawling singing style—one that makes him sound almost pained until he opens up his sound on the large choruses interspersed between calmer verses.

That signature voice is accompanied by John Nolan’s (also of Straylight Run) ground-up, shrill cries. As ear-abusive as that combination may seem, the voices combined somehow work, though differently than they did in 2002. A listener can tell that they have since honed distinct vocal styles.

Though, do not expect the same dueling dual-voice style that color and define the sound of TBS’s first three studio albums—at least not to the same degree; It does make brief appearances. Sadly, fans may have to accept that harmonies have replaced that heavy battling vocal style.

The album’s being self-titled makes sense; as, Taking Back Sunday sounds like a conglomerate of where the band has been, while it also hints briefly at where it intends to go.

It's a sound different from past TBS material, but still very much the band's own.


Cassie's Recommendations: Version Four

1. "This Could Be Love" (Damnesia version) - Alkaline Trio

A short story about "This Could Be Love" before I praise this particular version of it.

The first times I saw Alkaline Trio live were when they opened on My Chemical Romance's 2005 headlining tour with Reggie & The Full Effect. At that time, they were not yet my second favorite band, but seeing them live then sealed it, and this song in particular hooked me.

At the shows, though I didn't know many of the words to their other songs, I knew I could sing along when they commanded the audience to at "This could be love/ Love for fire."

After seeing them twice on that tour, I went out and bought Good Mourning and was fully equipped to sing along when I saw them a third time. The crowd was dead that particular night, and Matt Skiba pointed me out because I was so into it, and dedicated a song to me. Amazing!

Story aside: Holy SHIT! This version sounds beautiful! Damnesia comes out July 12, and I am infinitely excited!

2. Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday's self-titled album came out yesterday, and I have been listening to it non-stop and think you should, too.

I'm working on getting my thoughts on it down fully and will complete my full review of the album later today, so stay tuned!

Recommended tracks:
"This Is All Now"
"Best Places To Be A Mom"
"Money (Let It Go)"

iTunes Download

3. "Nightmares" (Live) - Belle Histoire

Since I've been home for the summer, I've seen Belle Histoire live a couple times at small shows. I can say without a doubt that they're one of the best-sounding local bands I've seen perform in a while.

4. The Ghost of Asa Phelps

Continuing on the local shows note. The Ghost of Asa Phelps, though they have now moved on, were my favorite band to see in my college town of Athens, Ohio. It was love at first-- time they soundchecked using an Alkaline Trio song then covered The Misfits.

None of the Athens scene has made me feel quite as at-home as those dudes did.

5. "Thank You for the Venom" (live @ Hurricane Festival) - My Chemical Romance

Fast forward to 1:33, where Gerard Way and James Dewees unleash the hounds of Hell from their vocal chords.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cassie's Recommendations: Version Three

As it turns out, that weekly recommendations series I started became a bit not-so-weekly with the onset of finals and my moving back home from college for the summer.

But now, I am home and have more free time. I have titled this post a bit differently from the others; as, yunno, the series clearly shifted away from being a weekly thing. However, I can say that it will now revert to its weekliness!

That aside, I will be posting more in general as well. I have a handful of shows lined up to attend over the summer about which I will write, and -- if interviewers start asking MCR about things we don't already know -- I'll have the usual in-depth MCR posts!

For now, here's my life in music.

1. "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" - The Smiths

"Driving in your car/ Oh, please don't drop me home/ Because it's not my home, it's their home/ And I'm welcome no more."

Have you ever felt mildly love-nauseated and out-of-place in the place where you're supposed to be the most comfortable? Then, my friend, listen to Morrissey croon about it in this song. It's like, "Fuck! That guy just gets me."

2. "Love Love, Kiss Kiss" - Alkaline Trio

Speaking of being love-nauseated... I swear Dan Andriano crawled into my head and wrote these lyrics there.

Every day of this summer so far, I've been plagued by people's suggesting I "get a boyfriend." Oh, fuck you! Yesterday while I was at a stoplight, I saw a couple in the car behind me kissing and wanted to flip them off. I refrained because I'm a lady, but I did speed off as if I were in a race.

3. "Zero Percent" - My Chemical Romance

The fast and pissed European B-side of the "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" single.

That aforementioned scenario? "Zero Percent" was my speed-away music.

"I. hate. you./ Kill everybody!"

4. "Stare At The Sun" - Thrice (Acoustic from Fuse's IMX)

First of all, this is from Fuse's long-dead "IMX." Amazing. Look at those kids in the background. It's like going back in time, and it's beautiful.

Beyond that, "Stare At The Sun" has always touched me, and Dustin Kensrue's playing it acoustically makes it all-the-more lovely.

5. "The Best of Me" - The Starting Line

Speaking of going back in time... My friend and I used to act out whole parts of that video in gym class, especially the part with the guy on skates. Hilarious.

Fucking ace and timeless song, too. So much pop-punk these days doesn't have that timless element anymore. Bummer.