Taking Back Sunday – Louder Now

After hearing the boys from Taking Back Sunday put on an awesome show at the Roundhouse earlier this year, where their set-list included select tracks from their then yet-to-be-released album, Louder Now, I was certainly looking forward to this CD. And I’m pleased to say, I was not disappointed.

Their latest effort is their first major label release (Warner Bros.) and it certainly packs a punch. Produced by Eric Valentine (Queens of the Stone Age), it differs from their previous releases – debut effort, Tell All Your Friends and 2004’s Where You Want to Be – in that it has a darker mood, bigger choruses and perhaps even catchier melodies. Yet it still has that same emo-pop punk flavour Taking Back Sunday are renowned for.

The album opens with ‘What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?’ which, according to frontman Adam Lazzara, is about “simply being withdrawn to the point where the line between what is and what is not real gets blurred”. It’s darker and moodier than anything from their previous albums and gives the listener a good taste of what is to come.

‘Liar (It Takes One to Know One)’ sounds as though it could be found on either of the previous releases. It is full of ‘emo’ lyrics (“I’m an addict for dramatics/I confuse the two for love”) and has a super-catchy chorus. Same goes for the CD’s first single ‘MakeDamnSure” that forcefully declares, “I just wanna break you down so badly / In the worst way” and later, “I’m gonna make damn sure / That you can’t ever leave / No, you won’t ever get too far from me”.

Tracks ‘Spin’ and ‘Error: Operator’ are faster than most and superbly capture the bounding energy of their live performance. ‘Spin’ may have some confronting lyrics (“The abortion that you had left you clinically dead / And made it all that much easier to lie / But that’s nothing that I’m proud of …
I’m making an example out of you
”) yet you still want to sing along as you get caught up in the energy.

The rest of the album is a good blend of energetic, bouncy tunes and slow, melodic ones. Lazzara described the overall theme of the album as being “about struggling to figure out where the hell we all fit in” and it’s a fitting description.

I can’t decide whether or not it’s a better album than their previous releases. It may take a few more listens. I am sure, however, that these guys are going to put on a fantastic show in October when they headline the 2006 Taste of Chaos tour.