Bayside
Cult


3.0
good

Review

by Mike Denison USER (23 Reviews)
July 12th, 2014 | 4 replies


Release Date: 02/18/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The only way that they know how to be.

When I listen to this album, I alternate between wanting to applaud Anthony Raneri's cleverness and wanting to shake him by the shoulders until he starts making sense. Bayside has long had many of the components for a top-tier punk-pop band: a knack for huge choruses and catchy hooks, well-crafted (if somewhat safe) lyrics, and a smattering of instrumental talent. Killing Time saw them come close to putting all the pieces together in a meaningful way, but Cult takes a step back, with timidity taking a toll on the New York foursome.

It's not just the fact that the lyrics include bombs like "We're perfect as perfect can be / I hate you and baby, you hate me." It's not just the fact that the chorus of "Something Wrong" is a cheesy dud. It's the fact that Raneri also pens the surprisingly eloquent bitterness of "Stuttering," and the choruses of "Objectivist on Fire" and "Transitive Property" are massive and stirring, even in their cheesiness. The potential is there, but it's marred by questionable decisions.

For some bands, the typical structures and forms of punk-pop are a canvas on which to paint; for Bayside, they seem like cages. Most songs are irritatingly predictable, with chugging riffs for the verses, plenty of factory-made "hook" riffs, and hardly a breath for Raneri short of the occasional guitar solo. There's not even a throwaway acoustic track to add variety. But several times, sheer execution wins out. "Time Has Come" is a zippy, radio-ready anthem ("I thought I'd like to live forever, but it just reeks of patience and effort" is a lovely youthful summer anthem). The aforementioned "Objectivist on Fire" and "Transitive Property" sit comfortably in slower tempos, and Raneri's passion and tasteful work from the rhythm section keep things lively.

Yet nothing reaches the heights of Killing Time's highlights. Poor production is part of the problem. Shep Goodman opted to make everything sound as sterile and polished as possible, and the drums in particular sound limp and timid (except in the thunderous intro and bridge of "Big Cheese"). More troubling, though, is Raneri's half-hearted performance. His range has never won any awards, but on songs like "You're No Match" and "The Whitest Lie," he sounds downright sleepy -- even more noticeably throughout the lyrically vitriolic "Stuttering."

None of this to say that Cult can't be enjoyed. There's enough energy and hook-writing prowess to make it ultimately worth a listen. But that doesn't quite wash out the feeling of disappointment. Bayside is good at their brand of risk-free punk-pop, but when executing familiar tunes is all the band can hang its hat on, every misstep is magnified. Here's to hoping that the band will break their own mold.



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user ratings (123)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Joel Hargreaves (4)
Cult is a nod to everything Bayside have done in the past whilst also keeping the future looking ext...

Conor Dalgarno (4.5)
Bayside stop stuttering....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ProjectFreak
July 12th 2014


1411 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Late to the party, I know.
Also, the opening riff to "Transitive Property" sounds ripped almost directly from The Story So Far's "High Regard."
that is all

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Absent Sounds

Killerhit
July 12th 2014


5254 Comments


pretty good stuff

DyingAtheist
July 12th 2014


124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review - I disagree entirely - but good review nonetheless.

Greavesy8
July 14th 2014


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dig this a lot more than Killing Time, just feels more genuine and the only weak track is Something's Wrong.



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