Taking Back Sunday don’t exactly reinvent the wheel with "New Again", but they do deliver, for the most part, a solid album of infectious pop-punk tunes.
With the loss of guitarist Fred Mascherino, who is replaced by Matthew Fazzi, the band doesn’t exactly seem to shake things up much. However, why try and fix something if it isn’t broken? This is the kind of music Taking Back Sunday make, and there’s nothing wrong with it.
The album begins strongly with title track, "New Again", and as the thumping bass riff opens, it becomes evident that though the band’s sound hasn’t been drastically altered, you’re in for a ride. The first single "Sink Into Me" further ingrains this notion, with a healthy dose of "hey!"’s, and a great bridge that builds up for the final chorus. "Swing" brings out the high guitar riff for its chorus, but unfortunately the album then hits a disappointing snag. "Where My Mouth Is" just slows the album down, and though the song is of a good quality, it seems like an inappropriate place to put it. Luckily, immediately after, "Cut Me Up Jenny" picks up the pace and the album keeps rolling. Penultimate track, "Carpathia", with all it’s strong rhythms, provides a smooth transition into closer "Everything Must Go". Despite the fact it seems "Everything Must Go" takes a little too long to start, it’s verses are appropriately slow and seem to work very well. Building up to a strong chorus, the album ends on an aggressive tone, but fades out nicely.
Lyrically, nothing is new or different for the band, and vocally Adam Lazzara is still as strong as before. That’s not to say the lyrics aren’t satisfying or interesting, because when it comes to catchy chorus’ in a few songs, the band really nails it. They just aren’t different.
If you’re a fan of some good ol’ alternative rock, or you’ve heard some Taking Back Sunday before and liked it, pick up "New Again". It expands on the band’s sound without changing anything major, and the songs are mostly great, with a few exceptionally brilliant stand outs.