Released: June 2nd, 2009
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska
Taking Back Sunday may not be remembered for having created wildly inventive music, but they will be remembered for making rather catchy, vaguely punk-influenced rock. As demonstrated on their previous albums, the band has a rather consistent knack for writing songs that will get trapped in your head. Are they earth-shattering in their creativity? Not exactly, but they are entertaining with just the right amount of angst.
Lead singer Adam Lazzara may feel that the album title is representative of the new band Taking Back Sunday has become, and while that may be partially true after the band had to find a replacement for guitarist Fred Mascherino, it is difficult to detect any major change in the style of music the band is writing. Even if it isn’t as new as Lazzara feels, the album’s title track still gets the album off to a strong start with intense drumming, good guitar riffs and high energy. That energy is maintained well on “Sink Into Me,” and even if it is a bit more pop-influenced than “New Again,” it still has that signature Taking Back Sunday catchiness and may remind some listeners a tiny bit of “Liar” from Louder Now.
“Lonely, Lonely” and “Catholic Knees” are both on the harder end of the spectrum compared to the sort of songs Taking Back Sunday usually writes. While some bands might sound ridiculous trying to take a heavier approach, both songs actually work pretty well, mostly since it seems that Taking Back Sunday knows how to balance their typical sound while working in a few new elements.
“Swing” appears to be an attempt to write a somewhat creepy song about failed love, but some of the lyrics make it a bit tough to take seriously and lines like “Open the gate to your apartment complex” don’t help. The concept isn’t bad and the chorus is quite good, but somehow apartment complexes aren’t all that creepy. Luckily, the rest of the song doesn’t fall prey to many slips like this and saves itself with good melodies. “Everything Must Go” wraps the album up well with a slow build and then some intense guitar thrashing leading into the verses. Although the verses are a little on the sedate side, the chorus makes up for this with some serious energy.
New Again is Taking Back Sunday doing what they do best, creating mildly angst-ridden songs, strong melodies and catchy choruses. While it isn’t quite as new a sound as the band might have hoped, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to improve on a sound that works so well for them.