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Bayside - Shudder Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.25
Production 9.5
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 9
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Final Verdict: 88%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.93
Musicianship 9.42
Lyrics 9.44
Production 9.29
Creativity 8.96
Lasting Value 9.46
Reviewer Tilt 9.99
Average: 94%
Inside AP.net

Bayside - Shudder

Reviewed by: Chris Fallon (09/18/08)
Bayside - Shudder
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: September 30, 2008


The fine balance between utter disdain and hopelessness with relentless apathy is essentially what makes Long Island's Bayside such an unclassifiable rock band. Their combination of depressing emo-centric lyricism and moody exteriors have made them one of the most easy-to-relate-to bands on the Victory roster (after all, how many of us can truly relate to the "bludgeoning" riffs and double-bass drum kicks of metalcore's elite, hmm?). Take the dark melodic contours of Alkaline Trio, throw in the hazy optimism of Smoking Popes and add a dash of sincere melancholy (with some wicked wit for good measure), and you've got your basic Bayside sound.

With record number four (their third total release of 2008), Shudder, Bayside continues to use the same ingredients in their recipe, because as the old adage goes, if it ain't broke... why fix it? Bayside has a perfectly-tuned sound with vocalist Anthony Raneri's indistinguishable pipes (at times sounding like a blend of Josh Caterer and Aaron Weiss) and guitars that wail one minute and drop down the next. The only real problem with Shudder, which is a more optimistic record than their first two, is that it doesn't retain enough of the anthemic personal triumphs the band showcased on 2007's The Walking Wounded; the anthems are certainly here, however they begin to die off in the middle somewhere (while exceptional, "I Can't Go On" steals away a bit of the energy on the first half). In due time, perhaps this new addition to their discography will be their rallying cry, with "A Call to Arms" and "Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors)" soon becoming emblazoned theme songs for the rapidly rebelling youth in this rapidly retrogressive time.

The main focus here is what the song's say, who they speak to - which is, frankly... all of us. They are melancholy, yet realized; peppered with ridicule and self-doubt, yet firmly designed to relinquish ourselves from exhaustion of self and to simply achieve. Raneri writes songs for those of us still finding our place in the world, young and old, adding dashes of moody pop and hard-rockin' solos for what I'd prefer to call "goddamn awesome measure". Building on the emotion that stems from not only the band's history, but from their acoustic work ("Moceanu") - where the songs always come off in a better light - Shudder is 42 minutes of triumph over tragedy, resurgence over pain, happiness over heartbreak. On "I Can't Go On," a sprawling canvas of emotional trajectory, Raneri woefully sings out, "Where love is crap, emotion speaks / for us all / What's really right? / Who's who to say?" While there is certainly allegations of animosity here, there's always light at the end of the tunnel (for lack of a better cliche) in Raneri's songwriting. "My mom always said I was named for a saint / but I never felt I was blessed," he cries out on first single "No One Understands," later adding, "It gets harder to believe, it gets harder but / be honest / if the sun don't shine tomorrow, we'll survive." Shudder is poignant and heartfelt in not only its words, but alas, in the way the entire process is conceived.

Jack O'Shea continues to be the driving force under Raneri's wings, picking up the energy when things begin to get slow, never allowing these tracks to drag (take "Boy," for example, playing off the rhythm the rest of the band lays down). Nick Ghanbarian's floor-shaking bass playing only fires up the moody structure even more, playing well of O'Shea's energy, yet keeping everything mysterious ("A Call to Arms"). Chris Guglielmo manages to orchestrate the rhythms nice and tight, establishing the tone of each track. The band is skillfully adept at allowing each song to breathe and sound natural, never cluttered by anything that will tinker with the integrity of Raneri's songwriting.

The well-oiled machine that made The Walking Wounded continues to chug right along, effectively showing that Shudder may become a sleeper magnet with fans who relate to the way Bayside constructs their broody, muscular pop songs well-hidden under a cloak of shadows and light. Haunting, aggressive, packed with melody - Shudder is another fine step in the right direction for Bayside, even if it might cover the same kind of ground the band has laid claims to.

They say Bayside is a cult - if that's true: drink up the punch, put on the robes and dance to the music, because if you haven't already... you're missing out on hell of a shindig.

Recommended if You LikeBayside's The Walking Wounded; Alkaline Trio's Agony & Irony; Smoking Popes' Get Fired; Weezer's Pinkerton
Choice Cuts"The Ghost of St. Valentine," "Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors)" and "Moceanu"


Track Listing1. Boy
2. The Ghost of St. Valentine
3. No One Understands
4. What and What Not
5. A Call to Arms
6. I Can't Go On
7. Demons
8. Have Fun Storming The Castle
9. Howard
10. Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors)
11. I Think I'll Be Ok
12. Moceanu
Band MembersAnthony Raneri: lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Nick Ghanbarian: bass/backing vocals
Jack O'Shea: lead guitar/backing vocals
Chris Guglielmo: drums


Online VitalsOfficial Site | Official Myspace
PurchaseAmazon MP3
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 142
02:44 AM on 09/18/08
#2
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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I know I've been giving some rather exceptional scores recently, but this is definitely an album that improves with each and every listen -- and I can say my score is a good indication of how I feel after many, many listens and deep considerations about the disc itself.
02:59 AM on 09/18/08
#3
Adrian Villagomez
The Sword the Anvil the Stone
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Late night user review editors posting reviews ftw!

"They say Bayside is a cult - if that's true: drink up the punch, put on the robes and dance to the music, because if you haven't already... you're missing out on hell of a shindig."

I like this ^. I've only listened to Bayside on their split EP with Name Taken though - not sure how much I'd like them now.
03:03 AM on 09/18/08
#4
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Late night user review editors posting reviews ftw!

"They say Bayside is a cult - if that's true: drink up the punch, put on the robes and dance to the music, because if you haven't already... you're missing out on hell of a shindig."

I like this ^. I've only listened to Bayside on their split EP with Name Taken though - not sure how much I'd like them now.
If you're a newbie to Bayside, it's easier to go through their whole catalog to see how far their darker-tinged pop has come since the early part of this millennium. I could see you digging a few of their songs for sure -- "Moceanu" or "Don't Call Me Peanut," for example.

I'm sure you can check some of it out on last.fm -- whenever you get the chance
03:31 AM on 09/18/08
#5
TMS2787
Fate Has Been Making Me A Liar
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I'm really looking forward to this album (easily one of most anticpaited of 2008, on my most anticpaited Tuesday on '08). Well written review and I must say I completey agree with what you said about them.
05:05 AM on 09/18/08
#6
tommyhaych
Mayor West
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If you're a newbie to Bayside, it's easier to go through their whole catalog to see how far their darker-tinged pop has come since the early part of this millennium. I could see you digging a few of their songs for sure -- "Moceanu" or "Don't Call Me Peanut," for example.

I'm sure you can check some of it out on last.fm -- whenever you get the chance

I second this. Bayside are like a book - they're a lot easier to love from the beginning.
05:18 AM on 09/18/08
#7
LongDistanceDrunk
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I know I've been giving some rather exceptional scores recently, but this is definitely an album that improves with each and every listen -- and I can say my score is a good indication of how I feel after many, many listens and deep considerations about the disc itself.

Great review. I agree it gets better with each listen. I am disappointed you didn't mention the song "Howard." It is the catchiest song on the album as well as one of my favorites. I still like The Walking Wounded a lot more but this is still an amazing album.
05:32 AM on 09/18/08
#8
WakeUpBlondie
Back from '09
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I love this album I think it might be my airy. This band gets better after each release.
05:52 AM on 09/18/08
#9
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I've tried and tried to get into them but I find them incredibly boring.
05:55 AM on 09/18/08
neverknew79
Goonies never say die
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I really enjoy this album. Boy is my friend's favorite song on the album but I really like "Have Fun Storming the Castle" and "Howard". And I agree with your opinion about the middle of the album. The song "I Can't Go On" just doesn't live up to the other songs. The last song really annoys me too haha. I don't like how he spells out the words. I like this album way more then The Walking Wounded though. I am anxious to see what song they will be playing on their tour. I hope they don't play all new stuff. They have to through in "Don't Call Me Peanut" or "Alcohol for Alter Boys". And every time I have seen them, they've played "Blame It On Bad Luck" which is one of my all-time favorites. I am super stoked for their show.
06:55 AM on 09/18/08
Cody Nelson
Your mouth to God's south.
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great cd. it's no walking wounded. but it holds its own.
07:09 AM on 09/18/08
popdisaster00
Two years is a long time to pretend
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what a fanstastic review, chris. congrats. it's a great cd
07:15 AM on 09/18/08
Mochem
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Good review. I agree with the score, but I think "Boy" is easily the best song (or at least it's my favorite).
07:23 AM on 09/18/08
Alex DiVincenzo
www.alexislegend.com
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This band just never disappoints.
07:29 AM on 09/18/08
alice+interiors
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mybreakingpoint is jerking.
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