Well it was bound to happenâ€¦the clichÃ© â€˜Weâ€™ve grown upâ€™ bollocks has taken effect with New Yorkâ€™s poetic emo boys. TBS have moved away from their previous record company Victory Records who helped them put the utterly kick arse â€˜Tell All Your Friendsâ€™ and the widely acclaimed â€˜Where You Want To Beâ€™ 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 â€˜Louder Nowâ€™ goes and pisses in the well.
Stating that they wanted to â€œMake a much more rock-orientated recordâ€ 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 â€˜emoâ€™ crowd due to the absolutely stunning and infamous songs that were â€˜Cute Without The â€˜Eâ€™ (cut from the team)â€™ and â€˜Youâ€™re So Last Summerâ€™, 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 2004â€™s â€˜Where You Want To Beâ€™ 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 â€˜Louder Nowâ€™ all that awesome pent up anger isnâ€™t channelled through lyrics about getting fucked over and cool noodley opposing guitar riffs and anthemic chorusesâ€¦oh no itâ€™s all about how they arenâ€™t being noticed and how loud their amps go now.
Basically there are no standout tracks aside from new single â€˜Make Damn Sureâ€™ 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 fanâ€™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. â€˜Whatâ€™s It Feel Like To Be A Ghostâ€™ is so heavy it detracts from any subtle points and memorable moments that they may have tried to get across, whereas â€˜Liar (It Takes One To Know One)â€™ 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 â€˜My Blue Heavenâ€™ and even that is horribly predictable and lacks the originality that helped the band stand out from the crowd, and at best is tedious. â€˜Louder Nowâ€™ 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 groupâ€™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.