It’s been easy to criticise Taking Back Sunday in recent years. Their best material celebrating its 10th anniversaries and a few lacklustre live performances haven’t done much for their reputation and rather than cut their losses end the band with a bang – similar to the likes of emo peers My Chemical Romance – they’ve stagnated somewhere between the nostalgic and the desperate.
Tidal Wave, the new album from the band, has made an attempt to blow all of their cobwebs away rather than cling on to a past that has long, long gone. With more than a touch of Against Me!’s sound about it, lead single Tidal Wave had us all fooled into thinking that perhaps the band may actually be transforming and moving towards a much more punk sound. It wasn’t to be, however, as the majority of the album still sounds like a watered down version of what they used to do best.
Death Wolf begins with an atmospheric introduction, crashing into a defiant chorus, but it’s missing the powerhouse force of the lead single. All Excess has moments of overlapping vocals and Lazzara’s skills as a commanding frontman do shine through but, despite his unmistakeable voice, it’s a sound that Jimmy Eat World might do better. I Felt It Too, disappointingly, harks back to the band’s older ballads but it’s not as gut-wrenching as some of your favourites.
More and more ballads take centre stage, further shunning any notion of a new and intriguing sound, with We Don’t Go In There and the drum powered Homecoming. An emotional declaration of hope and acceptance, it has the potential to grow to an anthemic crescendo, instead blurring into I’ll Find A Way To Make It What You Want.
It’s certainly impressive that some of alternative music’s finest pioneers are on their seventh album. Unfortunately, 2016 is full of some tough competition and Tidal Wave is easily ignorable for some newer names; if you’re already a fan, you’re not going to find a new favourite TBS song here.
Standout Track: Tidal Wave
For Fans Of: Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem, Jimmy Eat World
Written by: Kathryn Black