As their FA Cup song...
Lee Glynn
12:09 8th May 2006

Well it was bound to happen…the cliché ‘We’ve grown up’ bollocks has taken effect with New York’s poetic emo boys. TBS have moved away from their previous record company Victory Records who helped them put the utterly kick arse ‘Tell All Your Friends’ and the widely acclaimed ‘Where You Want To Be’ of 2004 that saw the band hit the big time. Yes TBS had it all, a cult following, recognition from fans who were actually older than 14, an album that was accepted by the mainstream yet kept its underground nuances. Then ‘Louder Now’ goes and pisses in the well.

Stating that they wanted to “Make a much more rock-orientated record” it is quite clear they have been blinded by the lights of playing Milton Keynes and signing to a multi-million dollar monster of a record label, as everything is different now in the Taking Back Sunday camp. Their debut back in 2002 pushed the band to the front of the ‘emo’ crowd due to the absolutely stunning and infamous songs that were ‘Cute Without The ‘E’ (cut from the team)’ and ‘You’re So Last Summer’, with their duelling vocals, ferociously raw chorus lines and some of the most original lyrics since The Smiths. An album that will surely go down as a classic. Then came 2004’s ‘Where You Want To Be’ and with a small line-up change that saw a slight drop in the duelling vocal screams and a drop in the Morrissey-esque one-liners, it still held together as great album, pushing the envelope harder and faster yet still keeping their original slant on music. Whereas with ‘Louder Now’ all that awesome pent up anger isn’t channelled through lyrics about getting fucked over and cool noodley opposing guitar riffs and anthemic choruses…oh no it’s all about how they aren’t being noticed and how loud their amps go now.

Basically there are no standout tracks aside from new single ‘Make Damn Sure’ that is reminiscent of earlier stuff and has some really catchy moments but would only just make the cut for a best-of compilation in a fan’s eyes. Aside from that, there is nothing on this album that reaffirms them as a band full of malice and bite. They have become a middle of the road alt. rock band and it hurts, as they were so full of promise. ‘What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost’ is so heavy it detracts from any subtle points and memorable moments that they may have tried to get across, whereas ‘Liar (It Takes One To Know One)’ sounds like a Hot Hot Heat b-side, and nothing like the Taking Back Sunday we have come to know and love. In a last ditch attempt at acting distinguished an orchestra has been incorporated on ‘My Blue Heaven’ and even that is horribly predictable and lacks the originality that helped the band stand out from the crowd, and at best is tedious. ‘Louder Now’ sounds like a band lost for ideas and not given the time to pour over their songs and nourish them into little beauties, as the listener cannot help but feel as if everything is forced, the attitude, the riffs, the lyrics and the emotion, it all sounds contrived and fake.

Of Course bands need to grow up and evolve, but too many times has a band sacrificed their sound to do it, this is definitely the case here as Taking Back Sunday have almost become a Funeral For A Friend tribute act as any song here could easily be lifted from the Welsh group’s b-sides collection. Their signing to Warner Bros. could damage their credibility as now they are part of the machine that has possibly forced them into writing an album under pressure and made them polish songs that would best be left raw.

Blinded by the lights?...One can only hope they will snap out of it.