10 stars

Tidal Wave is the eagerly anticipated seventh album from Long Island rock band Taking Back Sunday. Yes, you read that right, SEVENTH. Most bands that have been around as long as Taking Back Sunday (a pretty staggering 17 years) have faded away and either made a less than impressive comeback or simply stayed gone. But not Taking Back Sunday. Not only have they remained successful throughout their careers, they have thrived. After reuniting with their original line up back in 2010, this is the first time the band have released three consecutive albums with the same line up, and they just keep getting better. If you’re hoping to read even one bad word about this album, look away now, I have got nothing.

Tidal Waves get off to a solid start with ‘Death Wolf’, a slow builder that comes together in a track just as raw and packed full of hooks as you could hope. Title track ‘Tidal Wave’ feels like something taken from a punk back and combined with perfect harmonies from Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan, while drummer Mark O’Connell works over time. ‘Fences’ is the highlight of this album for me. There are so many elements that this song has somehow managed to pull together not only coherently, but bloody brilliantly; classic Taking Back Sunday punchy riffs (think Beat Up Car), and acoustic-infused chorus, and even a little orchestrally tinged bridge.

‘Holy Water’ is the one where Lazzara really lets rip. His vocals come from so deep down you can just feel the emotion coursing through the entire track in the most epic, fearless way possible.  ‘Homecoming’ is a welcome little acoustic break from the power of the rest of the album, ending with the kind of heartwarming gang vocals that make you feel like you’re sitting around a bonfire with Taking Back Sunday themselves (and then just wish you were). ‘I’ll Find A Way To Make It What You Want’ is the perfect ending, with Lazzara’s soft, emotive vocals paired with an incredibly powerful chords from guitarists John Nolan and Eddie Reyes and a solid backing from bassist Shaun Cooper and drummer Mark.

I won’t lie, I’m starting to run out of things to say without just writing “every song is bloody awesome”, so I’ll leave the rest for you to discover for yourselves. Taking Back Sunday’s last album, ‘Happiness Is’ was a damn good album, but there was always that little (and I mean very little) something missing. The raw emotion that shone through in the bands earlier albums seemed lost, replaced with something that at times felt just a little too polished and safe. There’s no danger of this on this record. Tidal Wave showcases every little piece of Taking Back Sunday’s musical talent, spanning from punchy, hardcore tracks like album opener ‘Death Wolf’ to the heartfelt acoustic opening of ‘We Don’t Go In There‘.

One thing that is clear about this album is the fact that it wasn’t engineered to be popular. When Taking Back Sunday wrote this album, they were writing these songs for themselves. Each member had an input and nothing was ever set in stone, with their ideas evolving the entire time they were recording in the studio. As vocalist Adam Lazzara explains, this album is “an expression of what Taking Back Sunday is during this snapshot in time as opposed to what we think people expect from our band.” This album is truly a showstopper, bound to draw in new fans just as successfully as it will reconnect with the old. Short of just re-releasing Tell All Your Friends, I’m really not sure Taking Back Sunday could not have put out anything more perfect.

Written by Megan  Smith


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