Taking Back Sunday
Tidal Wave


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
September 16th, 2016 | 167 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There’s always a way back from your regrets.

Taking Back Sunday boasts far from a perfect resumé. As we’ve witnessed an almost equal number of ups and downs throughout their discography, there has always been something endearing about their inability to get their shit together. There’s a human quality attached to these guys that almost can’t be described; a grittiness that has allowed them to survive multiple lineup changes and even a few instances of falling out of favor with their fans. But that’s life – you succeed, you disappoint, and most importantly you learn. For a band that’s already “moved on” so many times that it borders on cliché, at least some skepticism is well-deserved. Then again, it just wouldn’t be Taking Back Sunday if their best album in years wasn’t such a god awful mess.

Tidal Wave sounds almost nothing like what you think a Taking Back Sunday record should be. They borrow some Ramones riffs, and the overall vibe of the album has more in common with The Gaslight Anthem’s adoration of Springsteen that it does the kind of teenage angst that made “You’re So Last Summer” an anthem of our youth or “There’s No I in Team” such a bitterly relatable moment. The hooks that made even the most disappointing sections of their self-titled reunion immeasurably catchy are sparse, replaced by emotionally weathered (I’m hesitant to say gruff – because not quite) vocals and a more pointed focus on percussion, tempo, and instrumental substance. At its core, Tidal Wave feels like a reinvention of what this band represents. Maybe that’s what they’ve been hinting at all along with that album title.

If there’s one song that proves Taking Back Sunday have finally and once-and-for-all found their voice, it’s the opening track ‘Death Wolf.’ It takes a few listens to sink in, but holy shit is it beautiful. The faded chants that start and end the song – nobody will know – give it a cyclical feel, and for the first time it’s as if Taking Back Sunday sound like fully matured versions of their angst-ridden former selves. It may be blasphemous to draw such a comparison in a TBS review, but Brand New accomplished this markedly with The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, when they grew out of their clever one-liners and discovered the meaning of life. I’m not saying that Tidal Wave sounds like that album at all, but the feeling is the same. Here it’s as if they’ve finally arrived, and the entire album is one exhaustive exhale.

What’s most impressive about this isn’t even the sudden crystallization of this band’s existence, it’s the fact that their seventh album might actually be their best. Discounting nostalgia and obvious personal bias, Tidal Wave feels like the most complete recording of the band’s career. On no other Taking Back Sunday album do we get such a varied approach without sacrificing any quality or altering the record’s comprehensive aura. Here, an acoustically stunning track like ‘Fences’ feels right at home alongside the eponymous, adrenaline-pumping rocker ‘Tidal Wave.’ The cathartic closing ballad, 'I'll Find A Way To Make It What You Want', feels like it is right where it’s supposed to be because even though it has been done many times before in premise, it's rarely sounded this genuine. Instead of trying to carefully craft a puzzle, Taking Back Sunday just lets the pieces fall where they will, marveling at the mess and finding the beauty within it all.

Tidal Wave is going to be discussed at length for a lot of the things that itisn't. It’s not old school Taking Back Sunday, and it’s certainly not earth-shatteringly different from the styles and artists that they borrow from with this newfound direction. But there is something to be made of this group’s longevity, and the fact that throughout all the bumps on their journey, they’ve managed to find their respective ways back to each other to continue crafting meaningful music almost a decade and a half after their inception. This is not the first time the band has wiped the slate clean, but they’ve never sounded as focused or purposeful as they do right here and now. Tidal Wave may sound like a transition, but it feels like a resounding statement.

Is there always enough strength for the next step?
Is there always a way back from your regrets?
I want to hear you say, it'll be okay
I want to hear you say, it's not too late
It's not too late




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Comments:Add a Comment 
TooManyFriends
September 16th 2016


2203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

gr8 review. dunno if i'd call this their best album but this feels like their most confident album for sure. like they've finally realized 7 records in what kind of band they want to be

AsleepInTheBack
September 16th 2016


2690 Comments


Great review as always Sowing. Need to check this, always enjoyed these guys work.

One thing for me, the line "they grew out of their clever one-liners and discovered the meaning of life" sounds a bit over the top to me, discovering the meaning of life and what not.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 16th 2016


22612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was definitely being a bit [purposely] melodramatic there ; )

Digging: Childish Gambino - "Awaken, My Love!"

Storm In A Teacup
September 16th 2016


19964 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. (3)



"Then again, it just wouldn’t be Taking Back Sunday if their best album in years wasn’t such a god awful mess."



oh wow this might be better than Louder Now????? I'm officially excited. Was already interested and hopeful after hearing the first two singles. Woohoo!

ConcubinaryCode
September 16th 2016


3888 Comments


It's this at least catchy or will written as their other stuff? I am interested in giving this a shot.

Gyromania
September 16th 2016


21495 Comments


How does this compare to louder now

NorwichScene
September 16th 2016


2058 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review buh. Will listen to this over the weekend

TooManyFriends
September 16th 2016


2203 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it doesn't really. there's no spin or error operator or even makedamnsure. if you listened to happiness is it's basically a more cohesive, focused, better version of that

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
September 16th 2016


21395 Comments


Never was a huge fan of these guys, but always dug their singles and few odd songs. I really disliked "Tidal Wave", but maybe i'll give this a shot.

Calc
September 16th 2016


15245 Comments


if this is better than louder now color me super surprised

Digging: Zavala - Fantasmas

DirEnRefused
September 16th 2016


3335 Comments


if they released an album of "spin" then i would flip out man

onionbubs
September 16th 2016


4132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

had some fun with this one. it definitely has it's lower moments, but I did enjoy this record. i think it'll grow



plus, it doesn't help that i listened to the nick cave before this

Digging: Portishead - Third

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 16th 2016


22612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol yeah two totally different kinds of music



I don't think there's any type of pop punk I could appreciate after that.

onionbubs
September 16th 2016


4132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah ill definitely rejam when im not as compelled to keep listening to skeleton tree

tresm87
September 16th 2016


3605 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

no way can this be above a 3 after those 2 miserable singles

Digging: As It Is - Okay

FreddieDelaney31
September 16th 2016


2413 Comments


Please tell me Tidal Wave is the worst song, it's absolutely atrocious, and I love this band. Wasn't gonna listen to this after hearing the T/T but this review changed my mind so cool

Digging: The xx - I See You

onionbubs
September 16th 2016


4132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"no way can this be above a 3 after those 2 miserable singles"



speak for yourself i loved you can't look back

Atari
Staff Reviewer
September 16th 2016


22088 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

good review man



u covered a lot of the same stuff I would have if I reviewed it (how inconsistent they can be as a band, and how much different this actually sounds). still need a few more listens, but at the very least I think this is better than their last two albums

Digging: Julie Byrne - Not Even Happiness

Intothepit
September 17th 2016


3217 Comments


"no way can this be above a 3 after those 2 miserable singles"

Says the guy who gave that God awful A Day to Remember album a 4.5

TheSupernatural
September 17th 2016


1603 Comments


If I heard Tidal Wave (the song) and didn't know the band, I would have legitimately guessed Against Me!... take that for what you will. Still sounds fun though

O shit there's a new Against Me! album out today too. What were the odds?



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