Despite what some critics might say, I’m really digging the evolution of TBS’ sound, and I have equal love for all their albums. Admittedly their self titled 2011 release took a while to grow on me, unlike their previous albums. Based on this strong, hard hitting, and poignant first taste of their new album, I have high hopes that “Happiness Is” will be just as well crafted, thoughtful, and sonically pleasing as the rest of their impressive catalogue. It would be unrealistic to expect them to recapture the sound or essence of “Tell All Your Friends,” which for so many fans is a potent dose of nostalgia and an instant trip back to their high school/college years in the early 2000s. TBS has mastered the art of reinventing themselves with each new album, and I fully expect them to do the same with their new release. If “Flicker Fade” is indicative of where they’re headed as a more mature band of 30- somethings, I feel like their longtime fans who have grown up with them are in for a treat.
I’ve always loved how TBS incorporates the use of strings into certain songs, and they are seamlessly and artfully woven into “Flicker, Fade.” The strings beautifully compliment the introspective lyrics, laced with despair ,and add a richer quality to the heavy, wall of sound elements in the song. They’re definitely well paired with Adam Lazzarra’s compelling, emotionally charged vocal delivery.
To draw comparisons to some of their recent work, I’d say “Flicker, Fade” sounds a little like what would result if you put “Since You’re Gone” in a blender with “Money Where My Mouth Is” while almost trying to recapture the catchiness and the overall essence of what made “Make Damn Sure” one of their most anthemic creations. While Lazzarra knocked it out of the park with “Damn Sure,” with its powerful, passionate punch, this new song expresses a more reflective, mature, almost morose look at self-sabotage with a slowly driving melodic style that’s “catchy” for sure, but not in the obvious, more uptempo ways of their earlier singles.