Review Summary: Bayside let loose and refuse to slow down.
An interrobang is a punctuation mark that is used to combine both a classic exclamation point and a question mark, often used to ask a question in an exclamatory manner. Some basic examples may include “What did you do that for‽”, “That costs how much‽”, and “Bayside’s newest album is how good‽” Interrobang
takes inspiration from its title, addressing questions about whether Bayside had the potential for progression twenty years after their creation, and answering those questions with a resounding “Yes!”
Coming on twenty years and releasing their eighth studio album, Bayside’s Interrobang
sees the band playing to the individual strength of each member and creative a fully cohesive whole, all while fully embracing the heavier side of their sound. Jack O’Shea’s guitar work is heroic and solos are abundant, Anthony Raneri gives his strongest and most consistent vocal performance, including the occasional scream, and the engine room is driven by bassist Nick Ghanbarian and drummer Chris Gugliemo. All of the strengths of the band are at the forefront, creating an incredibly compelling, memorable, bang-your-head-along rock album. Much of the more experimental, almost baroque inspiration that was present on Vacancy
has completely disappeared, but that doesn’t mean that the creativity of the band disappeared along with it.. Instead, they chose to play the strength and let the creativity of each member shine individually, making a sound that is much more coherent and consistent.
Part of the strength of the album comes from the band shedding much of their pop-punk tendencies and embracing their rock, even with hints of alternative-metal thrown in. The album rarely holds back punches, with each song delivering both on its own, as well as the context of the album. “Prayers” is a full on stadium rocker with a guitar solo that simply shreds, “Tall” begins with handclaps that turns into a crazy compelling melody driven by a groovy bassline, “Numb” creates an almost eerie vibe that chugs along, and “Trouble” has crunchy guitar riffs over intricate picking. Each song could be worthy of a description along these same lines, but each is with enough unique points that they never meld together. Put simply, the album is filled with certified banger after banger.
However, the band didn’t completely abandon their roots, as emphasized by the soaring choruses. Each of the ten songs on the album could make a case for being the catchiest song of 2019, all with incredibly memorable melodies and interplay between vocals and instrumentations, with the opening title track perhaps just inching ahead with its earworm of a chorus. Raneri’s vocals are noticeably less nasally in past releases, and a more nuanced and emotionally layered vocal approach across many songs being particularly noticeable. This is most evident in “Walk it Off”, a song filled with group vocals and Raneri snarling through tales of toxic masculinity. Noticeably, the band accomplishes this range of emotion without including their typical emo-inspired ballad. The closest they come is with the clearly pop-inspired, almost carefree “Heaven”, which completely changes the tone of the album, but acts as a perfect reprieve with its placement on the tracklist.
, Bayside simply chose to let loose. They have crafted a full on rock album that plays with unpredictable song structures, which, combined with its lyrical strength, is absolutely refreshing within the genre. However, even ignoring the deeper musical analysis, the album is infinitely air guitar and head bang worthy. Sometimes that’s all you need, and it’s something that Interrobang