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Maybe they realized they'd pushed their luck to the breaking point, and that's why new second guitarist Matthew Fazzi seems not to sing at all on TBS's aptly named fourth album, "New Again." There are a few instances of backing vocals on the album, though generally only on the choruses of songs, and even then they are mixed far in the background and appear to just be additional tracks of Lazzara rather than anyone else.
Maybe this just means that Fazzi joined the band too late to be written into the songs from this album, but regardless, the loss of a vocal foil for Lazzara changes the Taking Back Sunday sound in very significant ways.
Internet rumors led me to think that Nolan was the injured party in the split, and that Lazzara was the one who acted like a dick and caused the whole thing. After all, on their out of print and little-heard self-titled debut EP, their lineup had been completely different even from that of "Tell All Your Friends." Original vocalist Antonio Longo sang on that EP, and on the first of two sessions, the backing vocalist role had been filled by bassist Jesse Lacey.
A lot of what made the best songs on their previous albums so great was that vocal interplay, as on "There's No 'I' In Team," from "Tell All Your Friends," in which John Nolan's vocals constitute the other half of a conversation/argument with Lazzara's vocals, or on "A Decade Under The Influence," from "Where You Want To Be," in which Adam Lazzara narrated an uncomfortable car ride while Fred Mascherino, often singing at the same time as Lazzara, gave voice to Lazzara's unexpressed feelings ("I've got a bad feeling about this").
The closest "New Again" comes to this sort of vocal interplay is on "Swing," which was the first song on the album to really catch my attention.
"Summer, Man," which also features at least limited use of backing vocals (mostly delivering wordless croons), has a chorus just as catchy as that of "Swing." Over a sad, wistful minor-chord progression, Lazzara sings, "The summer is over and I doubt that I'll be seeing you around." This song, about the end of a friendship, seems to refer to Fred Mascherino's less-than-amicable departure from TBS.
"Prove to the world what you already proved--that you just couldn't do it on your own," Lazzara sings, referring, one assumes, to Mascherino's solo project, which won't be as good as the next TBS record.