Bouncing back in style
In some ways, Queens (New York) based emo-rock outfit Bayside's third full-length effort The Walking Wounded in 2007 was a triumphant return after the tragedy that sidelined the band following the release of their critically acclaimed 2005 self-titled album. Then again, The Walking Wounded was still a disappointment overall, with the album falling short of the consistency that was evident on Bayside's earlier releases. But with the release of the band's fourth album Shudder, Bayside (Who comprise of vocalist/guitarist Anthony Raneri, lead guitarist/backing vocalist Jack O' Shea, bassist/backing vocalist Nick Ghanbarian and drummer Chris Guglielmo) seem to have found themselves, along with the punk rock spirit that's been absent from their sound.
Boy provides a rocking up-tempo start to the album, with the punk-rock influence clearly heard in the heavier guitar work, the jagged drum work and in some of the chorus lines from Raneri. The follow-up track The Ghost Of Saint Valentine maintains the heavy rocking sound, without forsaking the pop influence that runs deep within Bayside's song writing, while the first single/promotional video clip No One Understands, What And What Not and A Call To Arms are vintage Bayside anthems full of catchy sing-along choruses and some dominant guitar work.
Both I Can't Go On and Demons don't quite stand out as much as the tracks at the beginning of the album with their subdued feel and somewhat generic backing music, while the odd acoustic effort Have Fun Storming The Castle seems to stick out as quirky and strange purely for the sake of trying something a little left of centre. Thankfully, Bayside revitalise their rock tendencies on the up-tempo Howard, the fast paced Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors), I Think I'll Be OK and Moceanu.
Barring a few less than stellar tracks around the middle, Shudder is a great album, and one that proves the band still have what it takes to write some great songs. Shudder may not mark a vast change of direction for Bayside, but it does at least represent a huge return to form for the band after their disappointing third effort.
(Victory Records/Stomp Records Distribution)