When John Nolan and Shaun Cooper quit Taking Back Sunday, many fans feared impending doom for Amityville, Long Island's newly crowned "kings" of the emo scene.
First there was the news that the band split, causing endless unecessary tears and message board posts. Then came the rumors, the name calling and the finger pointing. But then something strange happened. Enter Fred Mascherino, ex-Breaking Pangaea guitarist, and bassist Matt Rubano and the gossip of a new lineup became a reality. While Nolan brought with him wit and charisma to the Taking Back Sunday sound and aestetic, Mascherino and Rubano flesh out the guitar and bass playing and interject a more mature twist to the saga that is Taking Back Sunday.
Where You Want To Be comes to us following a string of relentless tours on the strength of the bands fantastic debut, Tell All Your Friends. Not only does the new record pick up where the band left off, it proves there is life after Nolan. In fact, it dares listeners to question Mascherino's abilities as guitar player and second vocalist. And whether you question him or not, you can't escape his style.
Where You Want to Be, like all albums, has its hits and misses. In no way is this Taking Back Sunday's masterpiece. Instead, it is a fine effort. A record that is good enough to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump tag. Throughout the course of its 11 tracks, frontman Adam Lazarra's weathered voice slithers up one side of you and down the other. It is hard to deny the fact this kid sings with every bit of his soul. And yes, the album is slickly produced. But that is what happens when a band is given a slightly bigger budget and the ability to tweak knobs and manipulate sounds in the studio.
"The Union" and "Set Phasers to Stun" come off sounding like the cuts that did not make it to the final version of Tell All Your Friends. They are not strikingly different in style or substance. But tracks like "Bonus Mosh Pt. 2" and "Decade Under The Influence" sound like a bigger and better TBS. A TBS that has some experience under their belts. Maybe a band who are finally morphing into that one cohesive unit, finding that magic niche that all musicians hope to discover when writing and performing music together.
Where You Want To Be is a record that should not disappoint fans of Taking Back Sunday. Instead, it should ready them for the next serving of heartfelt, lovesick rock and roll this band is sure to deliver. In the first 20 seconds of "Set Phasers to Stun" Lazarra belts out, "I'm sorry it took me so long". Thats a fitting opening line to this band's second chapter and new beginning.