REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Taking Back Sunday settle down & find out what ‘Happiness Is’….

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

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I 100% fell for Taking Back Sunday back in the day. Vocalist Adam Lazzara was king of the fringe and their songs provided me with MSN screen names for the entire of my college heartache. However, somewhere in the transition to my twenties, I fell out of love with them. I would reminisce with the first two albums and to an extent ‘Louder Now’, but albums four and five passed me by without a listen. From what I’ve heard from others, this may have been a wise decision but if we are to listen to our friends, now seems like the best time to revisit Taking Back Sunday as they release ‘Happiness Is’, because we’re told it’s quite a return to form.
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Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is OUT NOW

Stark strings open the album on intro track ‘Preface’ and smash straight into the huge ‘Flicker, Fade’. The song is a brilliant opener with a chorus that’s almost up there with ‘MakeDamnSure’. ‘Stood A Chance’ is fairly polite, meandering along and ‘All The Way’ slowly builds into a wave-crashing ending. There’s hints of old Lazzara spite throughout the lyrical  content on ‘Happines Is’, but you can tell that collectively the band have matured a whole lot in the past ten years. ‘Beat Up Car’ sees Lazarra and guitarist John Nolan trading off lines like they used to and again has a chorus that’s full of life. There are hints of post-rock on the lusciously layered ‘It Takes More’ before the guitars of ‘They Don’t Have Any Friends’ crunch into gear. After a few years of people seemingly less than impressed with their musical output and indeed live shows, TBS have taken a step back, figured out what made them special in the first place and applied that to a maturer sound. The words and sounds heard on ‘Happiness Is’ speak of experience and you get a sense that Taking Back Sunday understand that they had their place, but they still have much more to give. If the objective is to find some incredible melodies and harmonies, they certainly achieve that on ‘Better Home and Better Gardens’ and ‘Like You Do’. ‘We Were Younger Then’ sees the band take a further look back at the past and you get a sense that they’re trying to show that, ‘look, we’re not going to write Tell All Your Friends again’. They’re much more comfortable now and that shows here. The album finishes with the sombre and ethereal ‘Nothing At All’, all echoed vocals and subtle guitars throughout. It’s unlikely that Taking Back Sunday will ever be as vital as they once were, but ‘Happiness Is’ sounds like they’re finally settled in their own skin. It’s got it’s ups and downs, but overall it’s a solid pop-rock album with some of the flair and emo sensibility that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Let’s hope they can keep it up or on album number seven they might just flicker, flicker, fade. 7/10
Listen to the album HERE!