by craigy2 USER (120 Reviews)
April 22nd, 2007 | 32 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Long Island, New York must be one of the most fertile places in the world as far as new musical talent goes. In recent years bands such as Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and (not so recently) Glassjaw have emerged from the region. All have made a big name for themselves, except for Bayside. Although having something of a 'cult' following, or at least large-underground following- hence their website www.baysideisacult.com; and although being signed to Victory records scores them major 'scene-points' they are yet to break into the same leagues of their contemporary neighbours. Despite being a solid sophomore album, Bayside look unlikely to match the success of the aforementioned bands with the simply titled Bayside.

Bayside are pop-punk; but that doesn't mean that they are just another band whose sole purpose in life is to have their videos on MTV. They sound like the result of a mad scientist fusing together members of Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and Alkaline Trio with various other influences thrown in here and there; but these three seem to be the most prominent.

The album starts with the sound of distant traffic and the band launch themselves into Hello ***ty. It is the shortest song on the album as there is no need for more. It is short, sharp and to the point, and gets the job done with it's fast verse before ending with a nice chorus. The pace from the first track is continued into the single off the album, and arguably the strongest song here Devotion and Desire. It displays great musical ability throughout, especially with the guitar solo. The guitar work is particularly strong on all tracks, as is the drumming from John "Beatz" Holohan R.I.P. while the bass mainly remains inaudible or disinteresting; however this does nothing to detract from the quality of a lot of the songs.

Although not being your typical pop-punk band, the order of the songs here is atypical to the genre. This is because the album starts out very well with some of the strongest songs on the album. Hello ***ty, Devotion and Desire and Tortures of the Damned offer a speedy start to the album before They Looked Like Strong Hands. It is much slower and is less aggressive, with a great, swaying 6/8 chorus. The next two songs are equally strong with Montauk restoring the pace of the earlier track. It is lyrically and musically one of the best songs on the album with long but memorable lines such as "If you hear this and you think you're ready then meet me at Montauk where we'll write out in the sand-'Here lies the destiny of two hurt souls afraid to be cured again'-that could be our epitaph." Blame It On Bad Luck starts out slow with marching band snare work underneath words which only just leave Anthony Raneri's mouth, sounding like he is half whispering; half talking into his chest. It soon gives way to a simple, upbeat, bluesy verse where for once the bassline is clearly audible and not playing root notes. After the chorus is a short guitar solo of sorts that makes the song even more bluesy.

After the first half of the album is out of the way, the mid record 'slump' begins. None of the songs are particularly bad, but they are just nowhere near as good as the songs that preceded them. We'll Be O.K. is actually a very good song but just doesn't match up to earlier songs as it makes very good use of texture changes in verses and particularly in the bridge where the bass mainly plays root notes except for short ascending fills at the end of phrases that add to the 'blues' side of Bayside's music. Evelyn seems to be filler as it passes without leaving too much of an impact apart from the odd interesting lyric, for example the line "If I had a gun and shot it at your face, would you promise not to get out of the way?" is something that could have easily come out of the dark mind of Matt Skiba.

Despite the dip in quality of a few songs near the end of the album, Bayside saved the best for last with Dear Tragedy. It has some of the best lyrics on the album as their rambling nature helps you to feel the bitterness that Raneri is trying to convey here; especially with long, winding and violent "I'd grab by your hair and I'd hack it off, and put it on display at the front of the yard on a stick that's decorated with a little pink bow and a sign that says 'her friends and family should have taught her more about love" This line leads into a great chorus. The song and ultimately the album ends with huge sounding, gang-vocals repetitions of the chorus while Raneri yells "You'll pay for what you did to me!", sounding truly bitter.

Overall Bayside's self-titled opus is strong with the occasional dip in quality. It is refreshing to hear an 'emo' band resist the urge to throw in screaming just for the sake of it, especially since so many of their label mates at Victory Records do. Lyrically the album is strong too, although Anthony Raneri's monotonous voice may put some off. As mentioned earlier the album is unlikely to gain the band much success but for those that are sick and tired of 'emo' bands screaming their lungs out and are looking for an album with punk roots and the poetic lyrics of emo, you could do a lot worse Bayside.

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user ratings (528)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
April 22nd 2007


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Surprised it took this long for someone to review it. In your introduction, you ponder as to why they aren't as big as TBS or Branw New. That's because Bayside is not as good as these bands. This is little more than bland pop punk, and the choruses are largely awful/boring. Devotion and Desire is good, but nothing else gives me any reason to rate this above average.

That said, very nice review.This Message Edited On 04.22.07

April 22nd 2007


I'm gonna have to go with Electric on this one. I'm a huge fan of their latest album, but that's the album where they finally found their sound stronger and better than ever. It took some personal tragedy to get there, but it happened. As far as this goes, it's merely good.

But for being signed to Victory, they are quite good.

April 23rd 2007


Devotion and Desire is awesome, as is They Look Like Strong hands. Beyond that I never got into this band much and am yet to check out their new release. Nice review.

June 19th 2007


Album Rating: 5.0

i love this album

i love this band

mm they may not be taht mainstream

but music is not aobut going mainstream

there is always a need to stay more like a cult, underground

its hard to get into the style, but i believe they are the best band i have heard in a long time. its not bad that many people dont like them it makes it more fun

September 10th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, great album

March 3rd 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I agree, good review (Y)

An overall a good album, minus a couple of songs..or parts of songs =

May 11th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Bayside is a band that took a while to grow on me, but I like them a lot now.

November 20th 2009


@ Electric City: I disagree with you. As someone who finds the pop punk scene kind of bland as well as you said, I find these guys to have much more talent than, in the least, TBS (Brand New I'm not going to rip on). As for their lyrics, I don't see where you come off saying they are awful. Anthony's lyrics, which are primarily very dark, are very grabbing, at least to me. They are very well capable of becoming much much bigger than Taking Back Sunday if they were more well known. (granted Anthony's voice might not be as appealing to the girls because its, well, not as feminine).

July 7th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

These guys are completely solid pop-rock, but this album may be their weakest

edit: I was being retarded...Shudder and now Killing Time are cleary weaker than this.

October 26th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

This band is so consistent. This may be my favorite, although the next two releases are just as good, if not better. I can't wait to see them live in philly, because every live video is so good

February 1st 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is pretty awesome. Good review.

August 25th 2011


Album Rating: 4.0

Soundtrack to my teenage years.

February 23rd 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

i want to know what electric city thinks is ground breaking music. ive always said to each their own. i like this review, very well written. but electric if u dont like the band then why even comment? its 6 years later ive seen them 18 times in 4 states every album is amazing in different ways while never losing their unique sound. this is a fans band! i dont think everyone gets that just by hearing an album. only a few bands have engaged me live the way bayside does. if your a real fan of music in general you know what im talking about when you see a band perform whether you have heard of them or not and it moves you, then go listen to the album and relive it! what ever does that for you is the best band in the world no matter what any critic writes or how big your favorite band gets. If you dont agree then simply....... f*!k you

June 22nd 2014


great album but their new stuff stinks

June 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

I liked Cult. Not so much Shudder

June 22nd 2014


Singer has quite a unique deliver. The cover song ep they put out was excellent.

September 11th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ten years later, Devotion and Desire is still a great song IMO.

October 10th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

got the last VIP pass for Dec 18 @ Gramercy Theatre


January 30th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

this bangs pretty hard but i have absolutely no idea where the alkaline trio comparison comes from

Get Low
May 7th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

Glad this has a 4. Album rules.

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