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Taking Back Sunday
Where You Want to Be
by: Sun-J

The past couple of years have been turbulent for the Long Island natives. After their stellar frosh release, Tell All Your Friends, John Nolan and Shaun Cooper called it quits (either that or they were "Cut From the Team." Get it?). If you had visited their website, it would have seemed as if Taking Back Sunday was history. Though, they grabbed ex-Breaking Pangea guitarist Fred Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano to make up for the loss. They hit the studio and equilibrated the chemistry. On the new album, 2004's Where You Want To Be, though the lineup is changed, the staples of the original Taking Back Sunday sound is still present. The dual layered vocals, high octave chords, kick-starting drums all provide key elements to each song. The band whom I call Emoglobins (because they bring a breath of fresh air, or oxygen, to the emo movement) still bring the aesthetic lyrics and paramount climaxes within every structure. In addition, there are many songs which parallel tracks from Tell All Your Friends.

The album opens up with "Set Phases to Sun," a pop driven track with an infectious chorus as lead singer Adam Lazzara sings "I'm sorry it took so long..." It's as almost as if TBS is apologizing for their brief absence. The song blows a zephyr of subtle hints about the bands misgivings and hardships which can only be extracted from a careful listen. "Bonus Mosh Pt. 2" is filled with the flair of new back up vocalist Fred Mascherino's bellows. "A Decade Under the Influence" is the first single released off the album. The track triggers through power chords as Mark O?Connell syncopates the drums with Adam's feverish vocals. "This Photograph is Proof (I know you know)" was the track featured on the Spiderman 2 soundtrack and starts out with a gentle guitar before the rhythmic drum sticks come in. "The Union" has a rock themed tone while "New American Classic" reduces down to slow, heart felt acoustic measures over layered orchestral backdrops and simple finger picked guitar. "I Am Fred Astaire" is probably the catchiest track on the album with its fast pace and poppy chorus. "Number Five With a Bullet" is my favorite song on the album because it transcends from "Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)." The last track, "Slow Dance on the Inside" should have been a bonus track. It contains sounds that don't seem to fit with the flow of the album as a whole. The song is in fact pretty old. If you ever went to a TBS show back when they were first coming up, you probably have a freebie CD with this song. They seemed to have added layers, and touched up the overall sound though. Stand alone, the track is superb with its shuffling drums and powerful chorus.

Taking Back Sunday has some new faces, but fans can rest assured knowing that the TBS sound is still around. It was very difficult to even catch any noticeable differences from the loss of John and Shaun. The band exerts emotion and confidence into each track, and present their product with enthusiasm prone to get you saturated with emo. In high school it was cool to like emo, then it was trendy and lame. With this album, Taking Back Sunday brings it back to the old school, as in the high school.


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