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Taking Back Sunday are back with their sixth studio album Happiness Is..., sparking a fire between the original members to create a mature sound without abandoning their alternative and indie roots.
A storied tale with the members of Taking Back Sunday, having released their debut Tell All Your Friends at the height of the Emo sound in 2002, but tragically because of internal conflicts, singer guitarist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper left the group in 2003. Three albums later, drummer Mark O’Connell brought the original members back together, not only to see if they could ever work together again, but also to just reconcile their friendships.
Since the reconciliation, Taking Back Sunday released a self-titled album in 2011 and just released the follow-up Happiness Is…. Stretching their creative wings out from under a major label producing the record themselves, this is probably their most focused and mature albums to date.
After a fairly pointless intro track, the album kicks off with a fist-raising, anthemic “Flicker, Fade,” which also serves as the album’s first single. There are peaks and valleys throughout, driving the album with more mature themes. “Better Homes and Gardens” could act as a love song talking about a failed relationship. The emotionally charged “Nothing At All” tips a nostalgic hat toward the youthful angst the band voiced almost 15 years ago. Other highlights include the ballad-y “All The Way" and “When We Were Younger” really showcases how mature the band has become as musicians, taking a less-is-more approach to the song.
Although some tracks are forgettable, Happiness Is… is a solid record, and is sure to please any and all Taking Back Sunday fans.
Happiness Is… was released on March 18 on Hopeless Records.