Maybe no one was more surprised about Taking Back Sunday's return to its 2003 lineup than the Rockville Centre-based band itself.

"[Drummer] Mark O'Connell has some crazy ideas, but sometimes they're just dead on," explained singer Adam Lazzara yesterday, as the band confirmed it reunited with guitarist-singer John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper and was now working on a new album. "He kept saying, 'What if we went back to the first album lineup?' And I was like, 'How would that even happen?' I haven't talked to John in years."

However, shortly after O'Connell brought the idea to Nolan and Cooper, and then Lazzara and Taking Back Sunday guitarist Eddie Reyes, they all began talking as a group. Within weeks they started working on new material that they are all excited about. "We spent a lot of time together reconnecting and talking," said Nolan. "But when we played together, it all went unbelievably well. Even after seven years of not playing together, after the first hour it felt the same as we did when we were working on 'Tell All Your Friends.' "

The new/old Taking Back Sunday lineup plans to record this summer in Los Angeles with producer Eric Valentine, who led the band's "Louder Now" album. A preview tour is also in the works. "I'm so glad this is happening," said Reyes, "because I can already hear something in the songs that reminds me of why all of us were so passionate about this band to begin with."

For O'Connell, the reunion is exciting from a personal and professional level. "I've wanted this so bad - there's magic again," he said. "I'm also so happy to have my friends back in the band."

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