Taking Back Sunday

New Again

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Like so many of their emo peers, Taking Back Sunday gets increasingly poppy as their career winds on, a reflection of their advancing age as much a shifting musical direction brought on by the departure of guitarist Fred Mascherino. His absence has left vocalist Adam Lazzara firmly in charge, a subtle shift in power referenced in the title of their fourth album, New Again, so dubbed because the group feels like a new, different group now that Matthew Fazzi has filled Mascherino's shoes. And that assessment is correct, at least as far as the band's attitude goes: this is brighter and bigger in every regard, never shying away from arena-filling hooks, an attitude that turns slower numbers like "Where My Mouth Is" into a genuine power ballad without a trace of irony. This large, cavernous sound camouflages the lingering emo elements which largely surface in the angst-mining lyrics, as well as the occasional bellow, and even if this lack of stridency may alienate some longtime followers, this gleaming pop-punk makeover is the band at its most immediate and easy to enjoy.

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