The Cult is Alive!
“And when I look back I want to know/that we were more than just a fad.” As Bayside inaugurates a decade of producing music with the release of their latest album Cult, it’s safe to say that this group from Queens proves to be far from a fleeting fad, and should be considered a dominant force as the grandfathers of the genre, Blink 182, New Found Glory, and Sum 41 retire from their ‘glory days’. Since the release of Bayside’s original album Sirens and Condolences, the fan base has been recognized as a ‘cult’ due to their fervent allegiance to the band, and have embraced the title accordingly. So, after years of expanding and strengthening the cult, it seems fitting that Bayside decide to entitle this album Cult. Moreover, in an interview with Under the Gun Review, the lead singer Anthony Raneri shares his inspiration for the title:
“When we finished the record and we listened back on it, we sort of felt like it was a discography without using any of our old songs. We felt it was a good example of where we started and where we would up with ‘Killing Time’ and everything in between…It’s a prime example, of everything we’re about. So ‘Cult’ is something that’s been with us all along. ‘Cult’ could have been something we named our discography, but I don’t see us doing a greatest hits. That’s really not our style.”
Since Cult provides a glimpse of Bayside’s maturation over the course of their existence, the album serves a solid “starting point” for a new listener who wants to explore the progression of Bayside’s style. Although Bayside is considered a pop punk/punk rock band, they provide a unique yet enjoyable approach to the genre that resonates throughout all of their work, particularly in this album.
Unlike the stereotypical pop punk band that simply masks the overuse of power chords and generic, repetitive drum tracks with a lead singer that sounds like… well this.
Bayside’s Cult demonstrates the band’s ability to layer their songs with technical and intricate instrumentation that support Raneri’s flexibility as a singer, as shown in his melodic vocal tracks.
In “Transitive Property”, arguably the strongest song on the album both musically and lyrically, the drum and electric guitar introduction is juxtaposed against the emotional and soothing voice of Raneri. He sings, “Don’t throw away our lives on this/Last month was hard, I do admit/But the hardest road pays off the most/I love you more and more each day." The instrumentation and Raneri’s expression rise as the song progresses, and eventually give rise to a building effect within the track. As the instrumental breaks and variances in Raneri’s delivery feed off one another, the listener becomes engrossed in the song and can truly understand the emotion behind the lyrics. Another prime example of Raneri’s ability to draw in the listener surfaces in the song “Objectivist on Fire”. Overall, these tracks definitely represent the emotional and melodic perspective provided by Bayside on albums such as Killing Time.
Meanwhile, the remainder of the album demonstrates Bayside’s ability to generate a quality sound consisting of mind-melting guitar solos and catchy lyrics. The first track of the album begins like the stereotypical Bayside tune with an anticipation-building drum beat that prefaces the eventual entrance of the guitar and vocals. As the song unfolds, these elements combine to portray the anger and angst hidden behind the lyrics. About half way through the song, the drums and vocals drop out as Jack O’Shea reminds the listener of what he’s best at: a technical and energetic guitar solo.
Overall, I think Bayside did a fantastic job of producing an album that was able to rival their past successes Killing Time and their self-titled. This album proves they still have plenty of fuel left in the tank and can hopefully release another great album.
(Image courtesy of RockSound)