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Bayside - Shudder Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8.25
Production 7
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 8.75
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.38
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.25
Production 8.63
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 9.13
Average: 82%
Inside AP.net

Bayside - Shudder

Reviewed by: KateBandit (01/13/09)
Bayside - Shudder
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: September 30, 2008


After following this band through high school and growing up as their music matured, I was anxious to see the progression they made with their latest album, Shudder. What resulted is a solid album with classic material. Unfortunately, however, I was still disappointed as a fan. The reason for this is that when The Walking Wounded was released, I was captivated from the first chord to the silence after the album ended. I had been blown away by the raw emotion and the very distinct maturation that distanced them from their more generic self-titled album. I realize that this made my expectations enormously high for Shudder, expecting to see another drastic change in style and skill. While my standards may have hindered my opinion a bit, Shudder is still a very good album, embedded with the higher skill of instrumentation that Bayside showcased when they stepped up for The Walking Wounded, but perhaps a little shy of the same emotional power.

In the opening track, “Boy,” the band matches Anthony Raneri’s lethargic singing style with a slow start, then crescendos into a strong finish. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album, which is dripping with the classic Bayside angst that we as fans have grown to love. Whether it is the cold contention in “The Ghost of St. Valentine” that "There is no love just appetite/ And its consequences keep me up at night," a line that resonates with the listener, or the very reclusive theme in "No One Understands," which needs no explanation beyond its title.

An interesting inclusion is the song “A Call To Arms,” in which Bayside abandons their normal song pattern to indulge in a little bit of fast swing within the influence. The song actually works great with Raneri’s voice, which is a great tool for irony as he sings of improvement; the words “A new experienced me” sung out with such a lack of optimism is one of the key qualities that sets this band apart from others. If we can dabble in guilty pleasures for a moment, the song is also quite reminiscent of Paramore’s “Fences,” another skillfully constructed pop song.

An additional highlight is the song “I Can’t Go On”. Although some aspects of the song (especially the vocals) need a little bit of hard listening to get past some over production and into the raw emotion of Anthony’s voice, it is still nicely constructed and is more like a slow track that could have been on The Walking Wounded.

A final noteworthy song is the eerie closer, “Moceanu,” which happened to be my favorite track upon first listen. In it, Bayside channel the success they had with their acoustic album and allow a nice, stripped-down song to end the album. Although the whole dark carnival feeling is a bit hackneyed in the scene lately with countless bands including Chiodos and Bright Eyes, the song is addicting and Bayside pull it off well.

In the end, Shudder is a nice solid album filled with tracks that are pleasant to listen to and even greater to see performed live. Although I have my qualms with the over-produced nature of the some of the songs and the inclusion of a bit more indifference, thematically, then their previous albums, this album is still in common rotation in my car stereo, I still have a blast going to see these guys live, and I am still excited to hear what Bayside puts out in the future.

Recommended if You LikePunchline; Alkaline Trio; The Smoking Popes; The Matches

myspace.com/bayside
 
Displaying posts 1 - 8 of 8
09:22 AM on 01/16/09
#2
hockeyguitar99
Prison Strength
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" we as fans..."

Don't assume that somebody reading the review is a fan, because that will never be the case.

Other than that, nice review.
11:20 AM on 01/16/09
#3
Frinet
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well written, love the album and the band, hopefully ill get to see them in april. they put on a good show?
11:01 AM on 01/17/09
#4
KateBandit
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Thanks guys, this is my first review ever so I appreciate any criticism.


well written, love the album and the band, hopefully ill get to see them in april. they put on a good show?

They put on a great show, if even only because their fans are so into it there is so much energy in everything and I absolutely love going to see them. Now I've only seen them here in the East Coast, (they're from NY) so I don't know if this is the case everywhere.
12:01 AM on 01/19/09
#5
what_ever
every supahero need his theme music
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Good review. I'd also like to add that while going through and commenting on the technical aspects of all the songs seems to be a pretty popular way to review an album here on AP, I'd like to see more about the themes of the lyrical content; the overall story-arc of the album. That seems to be missing from a lot of reviews lately.

Anyway, I love this album. Take from my post what you will.
04:21 PM on 01/22/09
#6
KateBandit
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Good review. I'd also like to add that while going through and commenting on the technical aspects of all the songs seems to be a pretty popular way to review an album here on AP, I'd like to see more about the themes of the lyrical content; the overall story-arc of the album. That seems to be missing from a lot of reviews lately.

Anyway, I love this album. Take from my post what you will.

Thanks for the advice, I can appreciate what you mean. The hard part is actually applying it, hah. Like I wrote in my previous comment, this was my first review, but it is something that I would love to get into doing and provided that I start getting good at reviews I hope that I can someday write more out of the box reviews that do show a full understanding of what the band is trying to say conceptually. It is also hard to do that with some bands, because they simply aren't telling a story through the album but rather wrote the songs here and there, but you're right, there are plenty of albums that have overarching themes that would be nicely explored in a review rather than the same old vague descriptions of tracks.
09:01 AM on 02/09/09
#7
dhelmick
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ok review. im not too excited with this album. in my opinion it seems kind of easy to forget. maybe im just not into their newer style compared to older stuff. i still think that masterpieces was their most emotional album. and walking wounded was amazing. with shudder it just seems to me as if the band lacks energey as well as emotion. im not saying it is a bad album because it still blows away about 90% of most music that comes out today, but still a let down from a band that i feel could do a lot better. on a good note i love i cant go on. i know a lot of people find it to be over produced and not really in the bayside style but i love it. "I left a note on your bed. I can't recall what it said" i absolutely LOVE when he sings that line.
09:38 AM on 08/24/09
#8
dhelmick
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ok after many listens i love this album. new bayside stuff always takes a while to wear on me since i loved their previous albums so much
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