Since the original lineup of Taking Back Sunday reunited in 2010, the band members have shown a new willingness to push themselves creatively and find new dimensions in their sound.
That is especially true of the group’s new album, “Tidal Wave,” which moves Taking Back Sunday well beyond the emo-rock sound many have associated with the band, introducing, in particular, a punkier edge to some of the songs.
According to singer Adam Lazzara, part of what is allowing the group to branch out is realizing that this classic lineup of Taking Back Sunday — which also includes guitarists Ed Reyes and John Nolan, drummer Mark O’Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper — has a distinct musical identity.
“I think there’s something we realized also through the process is most anything we do that’s the five of us, it’s always going to sound like Taking Back Sunday,” Lazzara said in an early September phone interview. “Mark plays the way he plays. My voice sounds the way it does. And even though we’re all growing with our instruments and learning new things and getting better, there are still, everyone has a very particular style. So that really, I think, like having that in mind, that kind of helped us to push that much further because we weren’t as scared of alienating anybody that has been following us or anything like that.”
The original lineup broke up following the band's 2002 debut album, "Tell All Your Friends," with Nolan and Cooper moving on to form the Straylight Run.
The first post-reunion album, 2011’s self-titled release, allowed the band members to get used to working with each other on new music and playing live again.
Going into the 2014 album, “Happiness Is,” the five musicians were then ready to start seeing where they could take their music in their second go-around together. That album, Lazzara said, didn’t redefine Taking Back Sunday’s sound, but it showed that the group wanted to do more than simply to fall back into proven musical patterns and styles. Now with “Tidal Wave,” the group is branching out musically.
In particular, the band channels the full-on punk assault of The Clash on the title track, a two-and-a-half minute blast of hooky, high-energy rock. Punk elements also flavor several other songs – including “You Can’t Look Back,” “Death Wolf” and “Call Come Running.”
While none of these catchy rockers are purely punk, the bracing elements incorporated into those songs gives them a different edge than Taking Back Sunday has shown in the past. Another big departure is the tender, somewhat ambient, ballad, “I Felt It Too.”
Lazzara views the song “Tidal Wave” – and the album as a whole – as a sign that the band members are more willing than ever to let musical influences they have picked up over the years show up in their songwriting.
“I’ve found with myself, the more I grow, the more open I am to listening to different (things) or just listening to things I maybe never would have given a chance when I was younger,” the singer said. “That’s something, too, I think, on this record is that we were wearing, I think it’s the first time that we’ve worn a lot of our influences just right on our sleeves. A great example of that is the title track of the record, ‘Tidal Wave.’ That’s a song that John had, and then he just had this idea, and then he played it for us, and Mark, our drummer, was like ‘Man, we should make a song out of this.’ So then we did, and when we were listening back, it just kind of sounded like it could have been a Ramones-y/kind of Clash-type song.
“Typically in the past, we would have tried real hard to stay away from that,” Lazzara explained. “But I think we’re at a point that for us, being that it sounds like that, and it’s something that we’re proud of, it’s like man, all these years and this has finally crept its way into how we’re writing and things like that.”
Taking Back Sunday is introducing songs from “Tidal Wave” as part of a career-spanning set on a tour of clubs that runs through late October. Lazzara said the band chose these venues – the smallest the group has played in some time – to help make the first tour behind “Tidal Wave” special.
“We figured let’s go to some of the smallest places we can as far as the size of the club because when the band first started, that’s what we would do,” he said. “I feel that is just made for, well it makes for a great time, hot and sweaty and real intimate. But it also really puts the song, or highlights the songs more because you’re not going to bring the same kind of production to a small place that you would to say like a big amphitheater or something. So that’s why we are doing the smaller clubs.”
If you go:
What: Taking Back Sunday on "Tidal Wave" club tour; You Blew It! opens
When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25
Where: Chameleon Club, 223 North Water St., Lancaster
Cost: $35; find more at chameleonclub.net