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Review

Bayside album is a ‘breath of fresh air’

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October 2, 2008

There is a unique sense that many bands possess, but for better or worse, many of those bands feel the need to add extra ingredients or change it up from album to album. This is not the case for the Long Island quartet Bayside, who on Sept. 30, managed to release not one, but two albums. Bayside has a unique mix-mash of dark, depressing, emo lyrics. They have solos that drown you into an oblivion of your own mind, and right when you think the song is about finished, you’re hit directly in the face with a line from Anthony Raneri’s indistinguishable larynx that leaves you wondering.

  Although this unique sound has stood strong throughout the years, it’s the album where Bayside finally decided to do something a little different. Take everything aside from Raneri’s vocals and wipe it out of your mind, because this album at first has you thinking outside the Bayside box. Their fourth studio release, “Shudder” is a breath of fresh air; the light at the end of the tunnel in comparison to Bayside’s previous releases. 

“Shudder” manages to provide the listener with a thriving burst of optimism, whereas prior releases left listeners contemplating life’s next move. “Shudder” is nothing like its predecessors— it doesn’t possess the tightrope line equilibrium of lyrics that drown you into the sorrows of your life or bring you to the point of near resentment.

  Raneri’s vocals are raw and more singalong-like then ever. There are many points on the album where there is as healthy blend between Jack O’Shea (lead guitar/backup vocals) and Nick Ghanbarian (bass/backing vocals). The first track, “Boy,” demonstrates this perfectly. Towards the end of the track all three vocalists are bringing the listener back to the old days while belting out an anthem, this time one of optimistic value. The album quickly moves into a fast paced Raneri dominated track, “The Ghost of St. Valentine.”  Every Bayside album has one track where you think to yourself, if they receive radio playing time, they’re going to be huge. “No One Understands” is that track. It opens with Raneri proclaiming how to live life to the fullest as he always seems to, but not cheesey like most famous quotes you copy and paste onto your Facebook. He has a way of melding true-life experience and melodic harmonies to motivate listeners. This track hits it right on the head with how it feels when no one truly understands you or your actions. Raneri and company have recorded a record not for the faint at heart. They don’t directly have a set age group of listeners like many bands. This band is perfect for college scholars like yourself—it’s an album that is geared towards those of us still finding our place and meaning in this world. 

  The album closes with what many classify as Bayside’s most profound and memorable work: their acoustics. The closing track, “Moceanu” brings you back to square one, to what Bayside does best. “Shudder” is an album that takes Bayside in the right direction;,even if it’s down a path they’ve truly never gone down. It makes me even more excited for their next release!

Erik Wood is a student at UW-River Falls.