By Vincent Barone
Long Island’s own pop punk band Bayside is set to release their fourth full length album, Shudder on September 30th. The CD opens powerfully with the track “Boy”, which, unfortunately, is one of the hardest-hitting songs on the album. Shudder is filled with morbidly well-written lyrics that longtime fans are familiar with, but it lacks the intensity of the band’s prior works. The somber words are hidden under catchy hooks that send out a more upbeat, “poppier” vibe that dulls the sharp tone of previous recordings. They will unquestionably attract many new fans, but could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of fans from the band’s early days.
As far as instrumentals go, this is the band’s most talented effort yet. Lead guitarist Jack O’Shea doesn’t let his band’s genre stifle his guitar expertise and has done his best playing on Shudder. O’Shea has done a great job playing over the rhythm, making it impossible for songs to grow boring. Besides his creative licks, Jack laid down some serious soloing on tracks like “A Call To Arms”, “Have Fun Storming The Castle”, and “Roshambo.” His guitar tracks, mixed with singer Anthony Raneri’s unique vocal styling sets Bayside apart from the other generic pop punk bands and is a breath of fresh air in a ridiculously watered down, monotonous genre.
Drummer Chris Guglielmo has done another great job in his sophomore effort replacing former drummer, John “Beatz” Holohan. Chris had big shoes to fill and he continues his great job by taking John’s style of playing and tweaking it to make the beats his own. His drum prowess is evident on tracks like “Howard” and “Have Fun Storming the Castle” where he plays unique beats that complement the guitar work.
As much as I miss the angst and power from former Bayside CDs, I have to admit that Shudder is still a solid effort from the group. From tracks one to twelve, there are no fillers. Each song is as good as the last. Anthony Raneri’s vocals have always been the biggest key to the band’s success. He has displayed his songwriting expertise by perfectly blending despair and optimism. His songs usually deal with a battle with heartbreak or uncertainty and how he perseveres.
They might have steered a little from their roots, but there are still a few tracks that remind me of their early work. My favorite ones include; “Boy”, “The Ghost of Saint Valentine”, and “Roshambo.” If you are new to Bayide and are a fan of Alkaline Trio, From First to Last, and Silverstein, you will be in for a treat. Shudder is in Stores September 30th.