“I can’t, can’t wait/till you see, see, see/what death and disgust/have done to me.”
The above lyric, which appears on Bayside’s third full length album, The Walking Wounded, can sum up the majority of thoughts and emotions the band are portraying to the listener. For those of you living under a rock, Bayside’s drummer, John “Beatz” Holohan was tragically killed in a van accident Halloween 2005. With such a traumatic experience looking the band in the face, it would have been easy to quit and go numb to the world. Instead, they kept Beatz in spirit, and became a better band. The hard work pays off on Wounded, as the Long Island quartet (vocalist/guitarist Anthony Raneri, guitarist Jack O’Shea, bassist Nick Ghanbarian, and new drummer Chris Guglielmo) has never sounded more intense and on point. Working with them again are Shep Goodman and Kenny Gioia, both of whom produced 2005’s self-titled effort, and they helped made the band’s sound tighter and angrier.
Raneri and O’Shea have always shown how talented they are on previous releases, but they really shine throughout Wounded on guitar. You get this notion right away with the rip-roaring opening title track. Bayside have always had great opening tracks, and this track is no different. “They’re NOT Horses, They’re Unicorns” is a hard hitting track (the lyric used above is from this track, as well) and Raneri’s vocals are scorching. The first single, “Duality,” starts with O’Shea and Raneri picking at their guitars and Guglielmo keeping the beat steady. The chorus is heavy on catchiness as well.
“Carry On” and “Choice Hops and Bottled Self Esteem” are two of the best tracks you’ll find in the Bayside discography. “Carry On” is fast, despairing song with lines like “If this is love/I don’t want a part of it.” “Choice Hops” begins with a menacing riff and builds up to the powerful chorus about alcohol abuse, which is back by haunting “whoa-oohs.” “Dear Your Holiness” is quite the rocker, with Raneri and O’Shea dueling on guitar and Guglielmo doing another fine job on the skins. His drumming is superb on every song Wounded offers.
“Landing Feet First” is a Bayside first, it’s actually a happy song. Raneri sings about his new bride, former adult entertainer Kylee Kross of BurningAngel.com, and it’s a nice change of scenery from the band. “A Rite Of Passage” is a favorite of mine. Along with a sinister undertone, the vocal delivery is good and Glanbarian lively bass line paces the song. The final track, “(POP)Ular Science” is vivacious track featuring a little falsetto from Raneri. It plays like an easy going track, but the lyrical content is anything but. One can assume it is commenting on the industry and whoring out of the “scene,” closing with “Dollar by dollar/your soul gets smaller/trending what we fought to make ours./They don’t care about,/they don’t care about us./They don’t care,/they never cared,” which is delivered with catchy gang vocals, ending the album with a lasting impression.
Ever since the release of their 2004 debut, Sirens and Condolences, Victory Records have touted Bayside as the next big thing, hoping they would become the next Taking Back Sunday or Thursday. Three years later, and Bayside are still looking for their big break. They, along with Victory, are hoping that the third time is the charm, as The Walking Wounded is the best collection of Bayside songs yet. It is their strongest effort, with improved musicianship and singing, it would only be right that Bayside broke out with this release. We have all had a moment in our lives that has been filled with tragedy and hardship, and Bayside is no different. With The Walking Wounded, Bayside has created a new anthem for us.