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Emo rockers Taking Back Sunday up to old tricks

Marty Schroeder | Sunday, January 28, 2007

Taking Back Sunday’s formula on their third album “Louder Now” does not seem to have strayed much from the emo-pop-rock recipe that the band is so very good at. While still a solid album that many teenage girls and boys will be listening to and lamenting their loss of love and romance, it fails to do much in the way of new material that the truly creative bands are capable of.This band used to be spot on. With its 2002 release of “Tell All Your Friends,” Taking Back Sunday was on the forefront of the emo-rock that was just hitting the scene. Although bands had sung about girls before and Chris Carrabba’s one man Dashboard Confessional had been pouring his heart out to ready teenagers for a couple of years, “Tell All Your Friends” was emo with an edge. When Taking Back Sunday front man Adam Lazzara pleadingly moans “And if you slit my throat / with my one last gasping breath / I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt,” one knows it’s teenage emo off its hinges but there was something real in that first album. “Louder Now” is still good music and the lyrics are more intelligent than your average emo-rock fare four years down the line, but this album is still doing the same old thing and suffers for it.”Louder Now” opens with a frenzy in the form of “What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost?” Bassist Matt Rubano sets the tone with a frantic bass line that clears the way for Lazzara’s singing. Following this is “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)” which is just as edgy and emo-punk as the previous track. The middle of the album shines with “Twenty-Twenty Surgery” and mourns with the string accented “My Blue Heaven.” This album was the first for Taking Back Sunday to be released on the Warner Bros. label. They had previously been with emo-punk mainstay Victory records and here Warner displays the cleaner production it can offer. However, the band does not lose its rough edge. While the production is clean thanks to producer Eric Valentine, the music is classic emo-punk sound is not lost. While the album is not the most groundbreaking album ever to be released it is surely good enough to warrant a listen.The biggest problem with the album is the cookie-cutter feel. Where “Tell All Your Friends” may have been overly melodramatic, it was, at very least, fresh. However, “Louder Now” will keep the band’s fans happy. They rock hard and sing about doomed relationships and, of course, the girl that got away. However, if Taking Back Sunday wishes to be truly recognized as a band that is serious about music, they must begin to move in a new direction. The emo-punk will keep the kids happy but the critics will begin to tear them apart. While some might say Taking Back Sunday is doing the same thing that My Chemical Romance did to make it big, My Chemical Romance isn’t changing its music; they are changing their image. Perhaps it’s not necessary that Taking Back Sunday go out and buy black eyeliner. It would, however, be nice to hear fresh music from this talented band. This music may sell some records, but it seems Taking Back Sunday is going to be long forgotten as one of the ubiquitous emo-punk bands that are dominating the airwaves.