Bayside
Shudder


4.0
excellent

Review

by Knott- EMERITUS
August 25th, 2009 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shudder sees Bayside once again defy all logic.

There are so many tag lines that could apply to Shudder, but most of them sound dismissive or derogatory. If you loved The Walking Wounded, you'll adore Shudder. Shudder is a brilliant addition to a consistent catalogue. It won't surprise many that Shudder sounds like a Bayside album. And so on. Bayside's fifth studio record doesn't fix what isn't broken, but what's far more astounding is that the machine shows absolutely no signs of rusting or slowing down after so long. Their melancholy, intelligent, often dark pop-punk sound is in full working order, and so is their songwriting. But see, that still sounds like they're just churning out album after album of the same material, selling records just because they can and making little to no impact in the process. And while they're hardly pop-punk's most celebrated outfit (who would want to be, anyway"), to suggest songwriting like that found on Shudder is lazy or uninspired would be almost criminal. And despite being slightly more of a grower than their self-titled or the much-loved The Walking Wounded, it's debatably their best yet.

Lead vocalist Anthony Raneri has so much personality that he's capable of covering any number of emotional and lyrical mindsets with excellence, never mind comfort. I Can't Go On, as its title might suggest, is a downbeat and fairly depressing track with arguably the record's most straightforward musicianship, which sees Raneri at his melancholic best; two minutes previous, though, he was delivering self-aware bites of observation with punch and a spring in his step ('there's so much life in these bricks, there's so much buildings can say'). Everything's coated in a hefty layer of cynicism (there are hints that even I Can't Go On has its tongue in its cheek at points) but it's not the sort that needs weeks of analysis to penetrate - Raneri's words and vocal performance are both instantly endearing. His conversational range is never betrayed by the incredible hook melodies he puts his stamp on, and he's frequently sublime; as The Ghost Of St. Valentine's anthemic chorus arrives, he yells, 'There is no love, just appetite, and its consequences keep you up at night, and Shudder is in full swing.

Behind him are stomping guitars and drums at points reminiscent of Alkaline Trio or Brand New. Bayside usually tend towards the heavier side of the pop-punk sound; Rochambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors) in particular, has pretty furious guitars and a weighty pre-chorus riff. But it would be inaccurate to describe Shudder as a record which strays very far from its pop-punk roots, even when Rochambo's superb solo sets up its final chorus. Pop songwriting is what holds this record together - varied tempos, subtle changes in approach and hook-packed guitar lines and vocal melodies everywhere. The only song which really strays from Shudder's typical aesthetic is closer Moceanu - likely to be a love-it-or-hate-it affair, it's almost a gypsy-punk song with partly spelled-out lyrics atop an acoustic guitar, complete with a gang-vocal wordless chant towards its close. It's a truly bizarre and unexpected way to end the album, but works surprisingly well.

I expect that Bayside's sixth studio album will veer sharply towards synth-pop territory, possibly introducing auto-tuned female vocals and incorporating guest appearances from popular hip-hop artists. Seriously, though, it makes you wonder whether a band that are now becoming pop-punk veterans have something of a dramatic direction change up their sleeve. Their refusal to shift from their core sound would be a disastrous decision if that sound weren't so tightly executed and addictive, but, again, that sounds like Bayside are managing to keep their heads above water, when in r-e-a-l-i-t-y they're still swimming at the same pace they started at. Every hook is infectious, every lyric intelligent and self-aware, every riff fitting, and they're showing absolutely no sign of running out of ideas. Sure, Shudder sounds exactly like a Bayside album, but the point is that such a comparison implies it being brilliant. And it is.



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user ratings (269)
Chart.
3.5
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other reviews of this album
cleary21 (3)
Solid effort from 8 year pop-punk veterans Bayside, on their 5th studio album. Nothing that will blo...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of about 100

Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haha i think anybody that hasnt heard the album would be like wtf but thx

ScorpionStan
August 25th 2009


1900 Comments


hey Adam i like this genre and have somehow never heard this band. where should i start in their discography?

Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you like a lesson in romantics i would recommend you start with The Walking Wounded (they're not similar musically really but they have fairly close intentions) - but most of their albums are similar. TWW is arguably their best and arguably their most immediate though.

ScorpionStan
August 25th 2009


1900 Comments


hmmm ok. A Lesson In Romantics is alright, had potential to be better though. i was more excited by the Brand New comparisons tbh. Anberlin is my favorite band in the genre, are there any resemblances?

shindip
August 25th 2009


3536 Comments


This sounds cool. I never really liked this band, but I might give this a listen for the hell o' it.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah Brand New comparisons are a lot more apt but still not really a good reflection. As for Anberlin, there are similarities but Raneri's vocals are nothing like Christian's, and Bayside are always a bit heavier than Anberlin.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPzaqM7xJS4 - title track from The Walking Wounded



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRhp2vhLguU - Talking Of Michelangelo from Sirens & Condolences



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKsvnyyqLzc - Masterpiece from S & C



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKvrwbSC7MM - Devotion And Desire from self-titled



Those 4 songs pretty much illustrate what Bayside are mostly about. They have slightly different facets to their sound but it's never overly experimental.



Band is brilliant, though. Raneri's songwriting is sublime.

ScorpionStan
August 25th 2009


1900 Comments


wow thanks, that is really good stuff...especially that title track. i like the heaviness. i will definitely be checking out The Walking Wounded.

great review btw. and congrats on becoming a contributor! it is well deserved.

YouAreMySilence
August 25th 2009


3727 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The guy's voice bores the hell out of me.

Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't see how that's possible.



Thanks, Stan :]

Groink
August 28th 2009


816 Comments


Good review, I enjoy "Sirens and Condolences" and "The Walking Wounded," I'll give this a listen.

sexpoi
September 27th 2010


647 Comments


sounds cool. never listened to bayside but from what ive seen here i should check out the walking wounded first

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011


22463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bayside's 4th LP sees them opting for a less complicated approach that results in the Long Island natives finding a satisfying comfort zone. Confident, without losing their trademark passion, 'Shudder' is energetic & predominantly up-tempo, giving off a much punkier vibe without sacrificing any of the quartet's catchiness. And yet, there are enough subtle touches (both musically & lyrically) scattered throughout which also assists its lasting value & makes the album a grower. Basically, it's another excellent album from an under-valued band. Recommended Tracks: Boy, Roshambo (Rock Paper Scissors), No One Understands & Demons.

ihopeuchoke
February 19th 2011


668 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Way more consistent than Walking Wounded



DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2011


22463 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree, but you'd be surprised at how many people think the opposite.



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