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| 25 October 2023 | Reply

Label: Fantasy Records

Release Date: October 27, 2023

Rating: 90%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Isn’t Taking Back Sunday one of those bands my son listened to in the early 2000’s?  I seem to recall buying him CDs and even taking him to a concert or two.  So why am I reviewing them now?  Because they are releasing a great album this month and the songs won’t let me skip it.  Disc opener “Amphetamine Smiles” has a cool vibe that draws you in from the first lesson.  The last 20+ years have helped the guys mature as song writers and players.  The overall vibe of the song is the perfect landscape for the lyrics to run across and helps set the bar for the rest of the disc.  “S’old” dials up the energy a bit as well as the alt rock quotient to levels I expected from the rip.  The overall groove of the track is fun, and the cadence is a perfect kick in the ass that gets the disc moving in the direction most fans will expect.  The driving bass line in the mix stands out every time I listen through this track.  “Keep Going” is one of the most contagious tracks on the song and screams mainstream radio.  The tempo carried by the drums and bass are fun, the guitars are a great match for the vibe of the track, and the vocals add punch and depth at different points creating a fun song that will get you singing, smiling, and either foot tapping or headbanging… all at the same time.  “Quit Trying” has a familiar cadence and texture to it and is a great representation of the different sounds and facets the band wrote and recorded on this latest offering without sounding overdone.  The vocals are great, and the bottom end is great when swirled with the guitars in the mix.  “New Music Friday” is a fun track that kicks off with a mellow opening that lays the groundwork for another mainstream rocker that gets in your head and won’t let go.  The drums and guitars have different sounds and urgency as the verse and chorus build, but they work well in tandem.  The vocal over the breakdowns is a nice touch and adds to the overall track.

“The One” opens with a chugging riff played with precision that is soon joined in the fray by the rest of the band and the song builds from there.  The vocals are steady and grow as the song shifts from verse to chorus and back.  This is one of my favorite vocals on the disc, as it perfectly emotes the lyrics.  “I Am The Only One Who Knows You” is a great song that compliments the opening of the disc with a song that dials back the energy without losing any of the intensity.  The instrumentation is played and applied with precision and handled perfectly.  The lyrics are poignant and something each of us has felt or thought at some point.  I just may have to revisit this one again before moving on to the rest of the disc.  “Lightbringer” has a cool emo-pop-punk feel woven into the songs DNA, especially during the intro and first verse, allowing for the song to leap forward at the chorus taking this track to the next level, thanks to the thumping drums and killer bass lines in the musical swirl.  The chorus is anthemic and should get a lot of cellphone lights (damn I miss lighters at concerts) in the air when performed live.  “Juice 2 Me” has a different guitar sound tossed into the intro over top some cool keyboards and soon the bass and drums join the fray and deliver a pounding track that gets the foot tapping from the first listen.  The distinct levels of intensity on the track help it fit into the mix with the other tracks.  Disc closer “The Stranger” is another catchy track that features great vocals and anchoring bottom end tossed into the musical blender with the guitars.  The energy on this track prompts you to start the disc again from the top.  Don’t worry, while these guys have dropped a disc of music that is more accessible to its growing (and aging) fanbase, they haven’t released 10 Dad music tracks… it’s just music that dads like me can finally enjoy from first note to last.

Tracklisting: Amphetamine Smiles – S’old – The One – Keep Going – I Am The Only One Who Knows You – Quit Trying – Lightbringer – New Music Friday – Juice 2 Me – The Stranger






152 – ITUNES

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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