Friday, July 29, 2011

Repost: Most Anticipated 2011

As this is only the 7th post for the Sight of Sound, you would think I am a rookie at this whole blogging thing. In actuality, I'm a two-year veteran - I just switched blogs (trying to take a more professional route). Anyway, a post I had on the former blog I was really proud of came in January where Mike and I discussed our Most Anticipated List of 2011. Since a good portion of it has already came out, we have decided to do a follow up, set to come out next week. To get your ready for basically our Most Anticipated (Mid-Point Check In), I wanted to go back in time and repost what our thought process was in the beginning of the year.

Enjoy, and I hope to see you back here next week.

*Originally posted 1/24/11:

Collaborative Posts

Blink-182 - TBA

Mike: It’s been over a year since blink-182 teased fans with the prospective single “Up All Night,” complete with Tom DeLonge making Pink Floyd comparisons. That’s all right though, even if the suspense is killing fans who’ve been waiting for new material since 2003. While the fanfare surrounding the group’s reunion/reunion tour seems to have pushed their record to the backburner, that seems to be changing in 2011. Cryptic Tweets from Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker allude to the band actually recording, rather than just yammering on about how fun it is to jam together.

Matt: It’s a classic tale of band gets together, makes punk music for the kids, gets a little older and makes music for the older kids, gets wildy successful and then inevitably break up and form two decent bands in their own right, have one member survive a fatal plane crash that brings them all together again, decide to go on tour and think “hey, this could work” and end up teasing a new album for nearly two years. Ok, maybe it’s not such a classic tale, but it’s nearly a sure bet that new blink music will come out in 2011. Personally, I’m happy they didn’t rush into it and worked at their own pace. Hopefully the music will reflect the dedication.

Dr. Dre - Detox

Mike: Hip-hop’s answer to Chinese Democracy: Detox is Dr. Dre’s decade plus labored opus, rumored to be his final album as an MC. While the record’s mythical status is as famous as its penchant for delays, there’s still reason to hope that it sees the light of day in 2011. Dre dropped the hazy, synth-heavy “Kush” late last year as the record’s first official single. Though it’s a bit of a regression towards his spaced-out 2001 era sound, it’s refreshing to hear him paired with Snoop Dogg again. Expectations are high though and if Dre doesn’t deliver, he risks souring his fan base in true Axl Rose fashion.

Matt: I was six when The Chronic came out, though I admittedly know “Nuthin But a G Thang” like every other white 90s kid. Then, a 12-year-old version of myself picked up 2001 because everyone was starting to get on the Eminem kick and he was featured on the “Forgot About Dre” track. What I didn’t know was going to happen was that I was going to get sucked into the music of who I thought, based on my limited knowledge at the time, was just an old rapper who was big back in the day with some group. I am now 24 and have been waiting on Detox since it was first announced for release in 2004! With all the wakas and flockas running around trying to be the king, it’s going to be nice to have the ace back.

Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys

Mike: Ben Gibbard has gone on record saying Codes & Keys is less guitar-driven than Death Cab For Cutie is typically known for. While that might scare some listeners, it’s hard to imagine the group coming out with a Kid A or Adore type experiment. Guitarist Chris Walla tastefully employs keyboards on all the albums he’s produced, as well as his solo offering, Field Manual. If anything, expect fragile songs with lush atmospheres, something Death Cab For Cutie has always excelled at.

Matt: I'm just going to let bassist Nick Harmer explain why this album should be on most anticipated lists (from stereogum): “The emotional spectrum feels much wider this time,” says Harmer. “The last record was much darker and was much more closely connected to what Ben had been going through in his life at the time. I think there is a lot more light in this record. Of course, Ben will always gravitate towards certain bittersweet material in his songs, but this record has a lot of expansive, soundscapey kinds of things. Thematically and musically, it’s just much more varied. We also have string sections on this record, which is very exciting for all of us. We’ve always wanted to hear that texture in our music, but it never really worked out before.” And on the statement of less guitar work: “Oh, there are definitely guitars on this record,” he says, “there are just less of them than before and we’re using them in different ways this time. Ben was really inspired by writing on acoustic guitar and on a piano, so often those parts become voices or keyboard lines, rather than guitar parts. We really experimented with piecing the songs together in different ways and using the studio differently, so this a much less guitar-centric album than we’ve ever made before.” That's what I like to read.

Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math

Mike: While Manchester Orchestra helped Kevin Devine and singer Andy Hull craft a true diamond in the rough with last year’s Bad Books, anticipation is running high for their forthcoming Simple Math. Hull recently debuted the album’s title track at an acoustic radio show, but the group has been tight-lipped about what the album will sound like. They’ve jokingly referred to it as a “spiritual miscarriage” in interviews, but that probably translates to songs that will get under your skin in very personal ways.

Matt: I really don't know what to expect from the Manchester Orchestra's third studio album. Like A Virgin Losing A Child had more low moments than the intensity heavy Mean Everything to Nothing, though both contained a good mix of pure rock music and down tempo storytelling. Then, the group taps into their folk side with Kevin Devine and the Bad Books side project. Throw in a hand full of EPs and the fact that the title track for Simple Math is online as an acoustic version and there is no telling what we are going to get. If Manchester Orchestra stays on the path they are on, they could go down as one of the most respected groups out there. With more attention on them than in the past, I fully expect the Atlanta group to come through shining.

Taking Back Sunday - TBA

Mike: When John Nolan and Shaun Cooper left Taking Back Sunday, it seemed like everyone hated each other. Team Adam (Lazzara) and Team Nolan both alluded to their falling out through thinly veiled lyrics and bitter interviews. Yet nearly seven years after their separation, they seem to have put the past behind them. After a bout of writing in El Paso, TBS’s “classic” line-up is hard at work on a proper follow up to the mega-smash Tell All Your Friends. The group has teamed up with producer Eric Valentine, suggesting that they’d like to capture the same effervescence that punctuated 2006’s Louder Now.

Matt: It's back to the future for Taking Back Sunday as the band returns to its 2002 lineup for the acclaimed Tell All Your Friends. If I can speak honestly, it creates a dilemma. I have no shame in admitting that TBS is my favorite band, but I do wonder if 24-year-old me would feel the same impact from TAYF that 17-year-old me felt. As the band has progressed, I have progressed with them and I honestly don't want a TAYF 2. However, as much as I don't think New Again sucked, it definitely could have been better. And it does seem like having the lineup that introduced them to the scene has sort of rejuvenated the band. A demo leaked by Adam Lazzara himself seems to keep the intensity while the band as a whole still makes the transition from emo band to rock band. And it made me completely wear out the play button, a result that will hopefully happen when the album is released.

Mike's Most Anticipated

Foo Fighters - TBA

The Nirvana faithfuls are salivating over the idea of Dave Grohl recording with Krist Noveselic again for the first time since 1994. Yet they should really get excited for Grohl’s reunion with Nevermind producer, Butch Vig. Though the Foo Fighters have stated this is their heaviest record yet, Vig is a master at focusing band’s vision, adding variety to their albums with crisp production and small flourishes of strings and piano. In short, it’ll be interesting to see the Foos continue to evolve from their well-crafted Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace with some old friends to help out.

Lady Gaga - Born This Way

The Fame Mons†er was a half-baked, unfinished effort. Though it sported pop-blockbusters like “Bad Romance,” its sequencing and unfocused nature made it forgettable. Born This Way seems to be GaGa’s proper follow up to The Fame, an album that’s had time to fully gestate before being dropped like an atom bomb. Her recent interviews suggest that she’ll be incorporating bits of metal and hard rock into her sound, which sounds like she’s decided to take real risks again.

Radiohead - TBA

Things have been quiet in the Radiohead camp for a while, but fans are anxious. Of course there’s the occasional “Yes, we’re working on songs…” from band members like Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway, but no timetable regarding the follow up to the meticulously textured In Rainbows. There is a bright spot though. Thom Yorke teased fans with some works in progress on his last tour, most notably the chilled-out, finger-picked “Lotus Flower.” Maybe it was a hint for fans: Chill out and let us do our thing.

Thursday - TBA

Other than continuing to employ producer David Fridmann, little is known about the musical direction on Thursday’s new album. However, singer Geoff Rickly has stated that the conceptual themes seem to revolved around devotion, sharing a commonality to their first album, Waiting. Regardless, Thursday has always been the thinking man’s post-hardcore group and it’ll be exciting to see them follow-up the aggressive, post-rock tinged Common Existence.

Honorable Mention

Bright Eyes- The People's Key - Supposedly Conor Oberst’s swan song as Bright Eyes. Hopefully it’s a little more “Lifted…” and a little less “Cassadaga.”

The Kills- Blood Pressures - After a ravenous romp with Jack White, Alison Mosshart returns to the jangly indie vessel that made her a star.

Patrick Stump- Soul Punk - This is the first time Patrick Stump has written lyrics since Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With Your Girlfriend. That alone is worth checking out.

Jack’s Mannequin- TBA - Something Corporate’s ivory slinger has been laboring in L.A. for over a year. We’re ready for Jack’s supposedly “new direction.”

Matt's Most Anticipated

Coldplay - TBA

Viva La Vida was a great release for Chris Martin and company, but I did feel it was lacking something. And that something was the deep, heartfelt sound found on tracks like “The Scientist” and “Fix You.” I appreciated what they did, using a plethora of instruments to create an orgy of sound to go along with Martin's crooning voice, but I'm ready to get back to the chill out. When Martin performed “Wedding Bells” at an Apple event, I just sat there and smiled. That sound I was looking for? It had returned. Whether that track (or “Christmas Lights”) pops up on the new record remains to be seen. Though the rumors of it being a concept album turned out to not be entirely accurate, the fact that I heard something about the album going in an acoustic direction is music to my earholes.

Jay Z/Kanye West - Watch the Throne

Collaborations for singles happen all the time in hip-hop, but rare does it happen for an entire album. Though Jay Z has some experience in the past with R. Kelly, it will be interesting to see what happens with Mr. West. The first single, “H.A.M.”, had a hit and miss reception and my opinion of it falls somewhere in the middle as well. Also something to look out for is who else will be featured? Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross... all potential guests. But time will tell exactly what two of the biggest, and best, names in music come up with.

Panic! at the Disco - Vices and Virtues

2005's A Fever You Can't Sweat Out is one of my favorite albums of all time. 2008's Pretty. Odd is one my top disappointing albums of all time. So this is me hoping that new material from Panic! (who officially put the ! back in when two founding members split) will at least be somewhere in the middle. It looks like we won't have long to find out as the first single should be released in February and the album in March. I'm not going to hold it to Fever's expectations, but if it is slightly better than Odd I will be one happy music fan.

No Doubt - TBA

I missed out on a lot of bands growing up, but I was fortunate enough to still experience No Doubt before the Gwen Stefani solo days. Any doubts I had about the group's ability as a band was put to rest after I saw them on their comeback tour in 2009. Not only were they better than expected, but were still better than some of the stuff out there today. If I can be honest, as much as I like their music, I will be happy to have some more Gwen in my life. She may be starting to show her age, but she is still one of my original celebrity crushes and to her I will always be true.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - TBA

It is going to be interesting to hear what the Peppers' sound will be minus John Frusciante. And also noteworthy will be the fact that, let's face it, these guys aren't getting any younger. But don't take that as an insult, I love these guys. I'm just curious to see how they are going to follow up Stadium Arcadium. If they come out with a four-disc release, I will not be mad at all. I think more than new music, I'm excited at the fact that a new album could possibly mean a new tour and RHCP are #1 on my list of bands I haven't seen.

Honorable Mention

Lil Wayne - The Carter IV - Fresh off his recent jail stint, the hype machine has already started for Weezy's latest effort. Good or bad, we should hear plenty about it in 2011.

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows - Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows - Though I'm not sure how serious to take the name (D.R.U.G.S.), former Chiodos frontman Craig Owens assembled a pretty good team for a debut album from a band that came out of nowhere. Time will tell if the music will match up.

Gym Class Heroes - The Papercut Chronicles II - I have been a fan of Gym Class Heroes for years and looked forward to Travis, or Travie, McCoy's solo album but was pretty disappointed. Maybe his bandmates will help him recapture the magic and my car will have some good jams in 2011.

Yellowcard - When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes - Yellowcard make the list simply for curiosity's sake. In their “reunion” album (I didn't even know they broke up), the band looks to recapture the glory that once had millions of kids wanting to be on Ocean Avenue.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Music Sunday: Sleeper Agent - Get It Daddy

I know I have been doing a lot of talking about Alt Nation on Sirius, so much that they should probably pay me (whoever runs radio - I wouldn't mind) but they really are a good source for new music. Case in point: Foster the People. They started playing them last year before they even started recording an album. But this post isn't about Foster the People (that will come later). This post is about Sleeper Agent.

Alt Nation has a segment called "On Your Radar" where the premise is simple: the track chosen is one that you should take notice of. Usually it takes a while for the song to stick but I gravitated toward "Get it Daddy" the first time I heard it. 

From the opening guitar riff, to the accompanying female vocals that aren't overused just because they are female vocals - this song is just fun. Add in the breakdown about a minute and twenty seconds into the track and you have the making for an incredible lead single.

The Kentucky-based band has or is touring with the likes of Circa Survive and fellow Kentuckians Cage the Elephant. I have yet to see them live (the closest they came was Pensacola) but I've heard reports that they are an act you have to see in person.

Their debut album, Celebrasion, is set to come out August 16. If it's anything like the first track, which you can hear below, we may have one hell of a debut on our hands.

Get It Daddy by Sleeper Agent

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Music Sunday: Mona - Listen To Your Love

Music Sunday's July theme of new music continues this week with Mona

I discovered this Nashville-based band the same way I found out about all the music featured this month - Alt Nation. It's another track that I didn't realize I liked until I knew all the words.

Apparently, Mona have made a name for themselves in the UK and are hoping to translate that success back in their home country with their self-titled debut album that came out in May. I have yet to check it out, but the few tracks I heard on their facebook have a similar feel to their radio single "Listen To Your Love."

Mona is featured this weekend specifically because yesterday I bought tickets to Music Midtown in Atlanta, a festival that was on hiatus for a few years but has recently been brought back. Headliners include Coldplay and The Black Keys, as well as Manchester Orchestra and Cage the Elephant. But down on the list was this band and I am now looking forward to seeing how this song translates live.

Mona - Listen To Your Love by Press Here

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Incubus - If Not Now, When? (2 Stars)

*Writer's Note: Though you can see from the rating, a slight spoiler alert is that I have more negative things to say than positive about this album. But please, take the time and read about the creation process from the perspective of lead singer Brandon Boyd. I believe he deserves his say as well. 

When a band achieves that coveted notion of longevity, it is inevitable that they will always be compared to the sounds of their past (see: Green Day). The problem of trying to do that with Incubus over the band's near double decade career is that their sound has never been clearly defined.

From the rap-rock sounds of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. to the beach-inspired tracks found on Morning View to the arena-pleasing Light Grenades, Incubus has always peppered their studio albums with dashes of different genres to create a diverse plate. And it's the lack of appetitie that is the ultimate reason If Not Now, When? fails to succeed.

The title track opens things up with a slow-building song that reflects the same kind of lyrical positivity as "Drive." It's classic Brandon Boyd with the vocal work and because the album is starting off slower, you expect that something big is about to happen soon. But there lies the problem: the album never takes off.

This release has been described as "boring" and a different first impression that came to mind was "lazy." The lyrics are head-scratching in "Friends and Lovers" while "Defiance" has the potential to be a good track, but ends up being a throwaway. Elsewhere, "In The Company of Wolves" is a nice idea in theory, but goes on way too long while "The Original" almost seems like it's being done by an Incubus tribute band on Broadway.

While "Promises, Promises" is a fair enough radio single, "Thieves" is a bright spot early on with a focus on the instrumental work. It's also an example of one of the most surprising elements to If Not Now, When? in that Boyd is almost overshadowed by the rest of the band at times. Some tracks would have done well to have extended some of the non-vocal parts, a la "Sick Sad Little World" from A Crow Left of the Murder.

As the album nears the end, "Switchblade" provides a breath of fresh air as the group finally shows some life, but it comes too late. The lead-single "Adolescents" (good choice - it's the strongest track on this release) comes next and gives a rare chance to turn up the volume, even if it is a modest jam at best.

Bottom Line: If Now Now, When? is not terrible (hence the 2 stars), but it's far from great. In fact, if it stood alone and wasn't compared to previous releases, the tracks can be enjoyable. This also might be a case where the songs become better through repeated listens, but here is where the title is appropriate. If they don't grab you now, then when?

Hits: Adolescents; Thieves; Switchblade; Promises, Promises

Misses: The Original; Friends and Lovers; In The Company of Wolves

*Reminder: I have to urge you again to check out this commentary from Brandon Boyd. I believe there is nothing like hearing an artist's viewpoint on releases, especially an unusual one such as this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Music Sunday: Grouplove - Colours

*Note: Sunday seems to be the time that the blogging world shifts back in to gear after the weekend. Because of that, I will try to present a musical escape for the end of the week. Each month will have a theme and July's will be new music.

When it comes to obtaining new music, I get mine from a variety of different ways. Mostly from other people, some from the blogosphere but on a consistent basis I get it from listening to Alt Nation on Sirius. It's crazy how there are hundreds of channels, yet I mainly tune in to one. But I can't help it.. it plays good music.

Anyway, each weekend they do a top 18 countdown. Usually at the top are established bands such as Foo Fighters and Death Cab for Cutie, but for the past three weeks a band that I am just now becoming familiar with has held the #1 spot.

The LA-based band Grouplove released their debut EP Mirrors last year but are seeming to gain radio play now with the track "Colours." Admittedly, it didn't grab me at first. But I found it was one of those things that I knew the words to and I had no idea who the artist or title was. A month or so later, I can say I like it and have plans to check out the EP.

So give "Colours" a listen (because after all, song titles are cooler when you add the extra "o" in there). And if you don't like it at first, come back in a few days and try it again. If you still don't like it, then I'm sorry I wasted your time.

Grouplove - Colours by KROQ

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sublime with Rome - "Yours Truly" (album preview)

Growing up, I had always known of Sublime. I knew the big hits like "Santeria" and "What I've Got" and songs of that nature. Later in my musical life, I started listening to them a little more as they were a "classic" band that I felt I needed to get into. And while I did start liking more songs, they never became a top favorite. They were just a good band that I enjoyed.

With that said, maybe that's why I don't have a problem with the remaining guys of the band going on after lead singer Bradley Nowell's death in 1996. I can understand some being upset, but I truly think fans need to give this version a shot.

Seems there were some side projects and legal issues that have gone on in the decade plus since that incident, but 2011 will finally see a new album from the guys who recently signed to Fueled by Ramen (the label behind such bands as Paramore and Gym Class Heroes). Yours Truly is not as in your face as past songs, but the vibe is still there all the same.

While I may not have been the biggest Sublime fan in the past, I am really liking this new Sublime with Rome project. Set to come out July 12, the album has a perfect summer vibe without being too hokey or forced.

A review may come later, but for now check out the preview here on their facebook page (note: requires a "like"). It just may surprise you too.

Favorites (so far): Panic, My World, Can You Feel It (featuring Wiz Khalifa) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Taking Back Sunday - "Taking Back Sunday"

TBS has always been known for their dual vocals. For this piece, I joined up with a blogger friend of mine, Mike from This Song Starts a Craze, to give a dual review, track-by-track. Enjoy.

Click Here for the MP3 version of this album and click Here for the CD version.

1. El Paso

Mike - This is a statement of purpose, the song that says “Guys, we’re back.” It’s the most bone-crushing Molotov cocktail of wailing guitar, sledgehammer drums, and lumbering bass that TBS has ever produced. Lazzara and Nolan’s howls twist around each other like barbed wire soaked in acid.

Matt - I will never forget where I was when I first heard “El Paso,” the first official single off the album. I immediately took to it and just sat there grinning because I was so happy. It is, by far, one of the strongest and heaviest songs in the band's discography and the perfect opener to let you know you are in for one hell of a ride on this disc.

2. Faith (When I Let You Down)

Mike - Louder Now hinted at the TBS’s stadium-sized aspirations, but this is the full realization of that. Crashing drums, organ swells, and flange soaked guitar leads accentuate Lazzara’s voice as it climbs skyward. This is an ANTHEM.

Matt - For some reason, when I first heard this song I was just kind of like “eh.” I have no idea what happened, but a few more plays and I became hooked. “Faith” is a simple and honest song that, if pushed right, has a sound capable of being a better radio single than “MakeDamnSure.”

3. Best Places to be a Mom

Mike - One of the big things TBS started to shy away from in the post-Nolan years was the dual-vocals they popularized on Tell All Your Friends. They’re front and center here, detailing romantic strife as the song shifts between stutter-stop crunch and open note swells. It’s so 2002.

Matt - The demo version of this song was the first to be leaked (by frontman Adam Lazzara himself) and I felt at the time it was the perfect blend of an old sound that is attempting to be progressive. The finished version has some nice touches and this song brings to mind the old saying of “having the band back together.”

4. Sad Savior

Mike - Eddie Reyes’ 50s-inspired pluck sets up sweetly against Lazzara’s naked voice before the group plunges into thick, chunky power-pop. Some arresting images and turns of phrase in this one, “Skin against skin, covering bone/On the body you're in, is aggressively slim/Yeah, you earned the clothes you put on it…”

Matt - I was put off at first by the country twang of the verses, but the choruses complement the song nicely. It's an example of great lyrics being the backbone of a decent song: “You don't have to pretend to be an orphan anymore. / You don't have to pretend to be important anymore.”

5. Who Are You Anyway

Mike - The most telling feature about Taking Back Sunday is how focused the group is in capturing a live energy. This track is easily the best example, complete with buzzsaw riffage and Mark O’Connell’s precision perfect drumming.

Matt - An example of something that happens a couple of times on this album: strong verses and mediocre choruses. TBS got knocked a lot in their early days of being repetitive in their lyrics and I think that notion fails them here in the chorus. But it's ok: the verses are bouncy and fun as hell.

6. Money (Let it Go)

Mike - This track seems to be the dividing line for old and new fans alike. Still, Shaun Cooper’s bass holds it together with dirty heft while the bridge features driving melodies and handclaps. TBS has always dabbled in hip-shaking grooves, but this is the closest they’ve ever come to funk.

Matt - Let me say this about “Money”: I like to turn it up and really feel it... but I could also do without it. I struggle to find meaning in the track but I guess every album needs that “distraction” where you just don't think much about it and go with it.

7. This is All Now

Mike - A distant cousin to “Ghost Man On Third,” this cut implements delicate open notes rounded out by warm bass work. Lazzara and Nolan’s sand paper vocals trade lines like, “This is, all I ever ask from you/The only thing you couldn't to do/Tell me the whole truth…” during a heaving chorus and perhaps the album’s heaviest emotional apex.

Matt - From start to finish, from lyrics to instrumentals, from verses to choruses (and bridges): this is the best track on the album. If this is the kind of music that is representative of TBS 2.0 (or is it like 4.5 at this point?) then I want front row tickets for this ride.

8. It Doesn't Feel a Thing Like Falling

Mike - Reyes and Nolan trade fuzzy, spidery riffs before the group slam down around them. There’s a relentlessly climbing atmosphere featured here, which is definitely destined to shine live. Imitators should take notes.

Matt - Remember that “repetitive chorus” thing I talked about in “Money”? Well it returns here but with a different result – it works. It's a perfect example of the vocals working with the instruments and one of the best examples of the dual vocals that were absent on New Again.

9. Since You're Gone

Mike - Of all the tracks on Taking Back Sunday, this is the throw away. It’s simply disjointed; the soft piano breaks seem out of place within an otherwise placid mid-tempo number. Elsewhere, Lazzara simply whines “I’M SORRY/COME BACK!” to the point where it’s obnoxious, not anguished.

Matt - I want to not like this track. Parts of it just seem so simple and thrown together, but dammit: I relate to it and because of that the song has me in its grasp. “There's no one to take for granted now you're gone” is an open statement that any fool that thought they were better off can relate to. Though, once again, it gets repetitive, I can feel the emotion in the chorus and that's what separates it from the other tracks.

10. You Got Me

Mike - If “Since You’re Gone” found Lazzara whining about his ex, “You Got Me” has him fixated on his current, “I was there when you were lonely/I was then when you were bored/I was there when you were feeling scared/And you were not sure what for…” The song blasts by quick with Nolan’s spiraling solo being a huge highlight.

Matt - While the song has some of the best instrumental work, it is probably one of the weakest songs lyrically. I actually didn't think that until I heard the demo for “Mourning Sickness” (a track I DESPARATELY wish was included) and saw that the chorus in that song is only the bridge
in here. While not bad, this one had a lot of potential.

11. Call Me in the Morning

Mike - Twinkling acoustics give way to sweet sentiments that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Straylight Run record. Lazzara and Nolan fixate on the afterglow of a one-night stand but there’s a tenderness here that the group rarely explores. Though the hook is fairly obvious, it’d be nice to see them push this type of ballad writing in the future.

Matt - I love this band to death, but I will be the first to admit that Lazzara's vocals sometimes walk a very thin line between being different and being annoying and this one is an example where he almost slips. I think near the end had one of the strongest examples of the dual vocals and a nice closer of an album that builds to give you an overall ending.

Final thoughts:

Mike - If there’s a criticism to throw at Taking Back Sunday it’s the fact that the group focused on creating an immediate record at the expense of sonic diversity. Though Nolan’s indie sensibilities crop up here and there, this self-titled record is aimed at big riffs and shout-along choruses. Those limitations aside, however, Lazzara (and the rest of TBS) seems revitalized working with Nolan and Cooper, and eager to explore where they’ve been during their creative separation. Additionally, the group has effectively shed their adolescent skin to explore weightier themes (Faith, Guilt, Self-Preservation) with an aggressive mix, courtesy of producer Eric Valentine. All in all, Taking Back Sunday is a record that exhibits growth amongst musicians that were born to play together, even if it’s within a tightly specific framework this time around. (****)

Key Cuts: El Paso, Best Places To Be A Mom, This Is All Now

Matt - While this is the same lineup as Tell All Your Friends, it is definitely not the same music. And that is a good thing. A lot can happen in nine years, especially when a teenager with plenty of angst turns into a twenty something adult who is starting to see the world for what it really is. I feel this release was a perfect example of the good kind of growth and it only makes me anticipate future releases from this revamped lineup to see where they can grow from here.

It's hard to look critically at a band you connect with on a “favorite” level. Admittedly I can find flaws in this release if I look for them and no, this album is not going to win any “Of The Year” categories. But at the end of the day, from track 1 to track 11 – I enjoy it. And at its simplest form, isn't that what the music is all about?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...