March 26, 2023
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Life & Culture

Review: Taking Back Sunday resurfaces with ‘Tidal Wave’ album

Taking Back Sunday

"Tidal Wave"

The overall mood of Taking Back Sunday’s “Tidal Wave” is optimistic, though this positivity does not compromise the biting vocals, heavy bass line, loud drums and driving guitar that keep it reminiscent of post-hardcore sensibilities.

Taking Back Sunday released “Tidal Wave,” its latest album, on Sept. 16. The Long Island rock band was formed in 1999 and has released seven full-length albums and two EPs since, proving to stand the test of time. Their extensive discography has consistently been a staple for alternative rockers, though “Tidal Wave” explores more offshoots of rock than past releases that had a more pop-punk sound.

“Tidal Wave” samples different subgenres of rock, sometimes even within the same track. The album begins with “Death Wolf,” a song that seamlessly transitions from lo-fi indie rock to pop-punk to heavy rock as the song progresses. The album’s title track “Tidal Wave” follows “Death Wolf,” fully throwing listeners into the album with its punchy British punk vibe, similar to that of the Ramones.

“You Can’t Look Back,” the third song on the album, sounds like a stadium-rock anthem with its determined lyrics that repeatedly declare, “I’m gonna get you if it takes me all night long.” It contrasts with later songs on the LP, like “I Felt It Too,” that slows down to a ballad with vocal harmonies, finger picking and clean guitar. “Homecoming” steps into the realm of folkrock with its acoustic guitar and organic-sounding percussion.

The album ends strongly with “I’ll Find a Way to Make It What You Want,” an indie-rock piece that employs piano and synths, as well as distortion that comes in during the song’s heavy and satisfying build.

The production of the album is brilliant and requires listening with good headphones in order to fully appreciate the stereo sound. The use of panning effects in many songs offers the listener an immersive and dynamic experience that adds even more action to the band’s already energetic tracks.

Though it’s certainly impressive that Taking Back Sunday is able to weave such diverse styles together in a way that sounds cohesive, the group’s music isn’t for everyone. Some songs sound corny and reminiscent of overdone hard rock that those in the mood for an independent indie album won’t be interested in.

Regardless of style preference, “Tidal Wave” is objectively a thorough, ambitious and honest release that encourages listeners to fully submerge themselves in all of the vigor and exhilaration it offers.