Taking Back Sunday: New Again

Matthew Niner

Another solid album that cements their reputation as one of the most genuinely affecting and consistent bands in the current scene.

Taking Back Sunday

New Again

Label: Warner Bros.
US Release Date: 2009-06-02
UK Release Date: 2009-06-01

Taking Back Sunday are a peculiar band, with three albums of largely similar emotional rock with only mild variations in sound to differentiate each album from each other. Their last offering, Louder Now, took a slightly harder edge and proved to be their most successful album to date. Rightly so, as the songwriting -- while not entirely different from previous works -- had definitely become more sophisticated, and tracks such as "My Blue Heaven" had a real emotional core.

Last year, key member Fred Mascherino departed to concentrate on his own solo project (the unforgivably awful the Color Fred). The band regrouped with new vocalist Matthew Fazzi and began working on their new album, the aptly titled New Again (the band had been a new prospect once before, following the departure of Mascherino's predecessor, Straylight Run's John Nolan).

New Again follows the Taking Back Sunday route of slightly tweaking the band's sound without doing too much. Instead of the full scale assault that was Louder Now's opener, "What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?", the band open with the title track, a lilting summery number that serves as a fine introduction to the album. It's followed by "Sink Into Me", a similar track made noticeable by the liberal use of group chanting "Hey!"; it's terribly clichéd, but that has always been a part of Taking Back Sunday's charm. The first real curve ball comes with "Lonely, Lonely", which features an aggressive riff and some demented-sounding vocals from the usually caramel voiced Adam Lazarra.

The unique aspects of New Again stem from the use of some different instrumentation, some soft synth parts, and keyboards as used on the Goo Goo Dolls-like "Where My Mouth Is". "Cut Me Up Jenny" is also a noticeable track due to the jarring rhythm during the verses that begin to annoy before actually providing the hook of the song.

The song writing on New Again is as consistent as Taking Back Sunday have ever produced. Adam Lazarra proves himself yet again an incredibly versatile vocalist, and he was written some of his strongest melodies to date. Lyrically, the album veers from ambiguous clichés for which this genre is renowned, to scathing rants about his ex loves (he broke up with Eisley's Chauntelle DuPree during the recording process). "Carpathia" is the highlight, a stunning song with a chorus that refuses to go quietly, and which has a generally fresh feel. The last song on the album, "Everything Must Go", continues the band's tradition of the epic grandstand finish a la "Slow Dance on the Inside".

They may never achieve huge mainstream recognition like My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy, but Taking Back Sunday should not be taken for granted. They have produced another solid album that cements their reputation as one of the most genuinely affecting and consistent bands in the current scene.






The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.