Being a longtime music fan can be frustrating. You have your bands that can do no wrong, then you have the ones who constantly produce mixed results and continue to let you down. Taking Back Sunday are one of the latter.
With an inconsistent output since their 2000’s “heydey”, Taking Back Sunday aimed to "free themselves” with their seventh outing – ‘Tidal Wave’. Upon the release of the title track earlier this summer, they surprised many with its punk-infused, reinvigorated approach making the album an interesting propostion. Unfortunately, the potential of the quintet delivering a stellar and consistent record isn’t quite matched.
‘Tidal Wave’ is a record of two halves. The first rushes in with adrenaline as ‘Death Wolf’ effectively uses the familiar trait of Adam Lazzara’s and John Nolan’s vocals bouncing off each other. The momentum is carried over to the pairing of the aforementioned title track, with its punk rock zest, and ‘You Can’t Look Back’, which brings that classic TBS sound firmly into 2016; a steady build leading to an emotionally-charged hook with jangly guitars and pulsating tempo.
The downfall of ‘Tidal Wave’ is that it peaks far too soon. A forgettable batch of songs; ‘Fences’, ‘Call Come Running’, ‘Holy Water’ and ,‘In The Middle Of It All’ sees the quintet wrap themselves in a safety blanket of run-of-the-mill US rock, despite their attempts to use strings and synths effectively.
Amongst the lacklustre cuts, there are some beacons of hope. ‘All Excess’ is radiant and echoes the band’s past glories, whilst ‘I Felt It Too’ delicately highlights Taking Back Sunday’s ability to produce compelling, tender moments. Whereas, closing number ‘I’ll Find A Way To Make It What You Want’ neatly builds with Lazzara’s hushed, compassionate vocals giving way to larger-than-life guitars.
’Tidal Wave’ had the potential to revitalise Taking Back Sunday, but ultimately they fail to make huge strides forward. It’s a frustrating return for a band whose influence still continues to grow.
‘Tidal Wave’ by Taking Back Sunday is released on September 16th on Hopeless Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)