Monday, 22nd January 2018. 9:06:35pm ET


ARTIST: Bayside

ALBUM: Shudder

LABEL: Victory Records

REVIEWER: Matthew J.

DATE: 1-4-09

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One of the few decent bands to emerge from today's over-saturated pop-punk market, Bayside deliver a solid album of catchy but heartfelt anthems on their newest release. While not every song is a perfect gem, with the perfunctory acoustic ballad "Moceanu" being significantly less clever than it aims for, this album is extremely well put-together, and doesn't sacrifice songwriting at the altar of accessibility. "The Ghost of St. Valentine" offers some surprisingly thoughtful examinations of the human condition set to an addictive major-key guitar hook that's extremely hard not to like, and "Roshambo" is catchy and clean but hard-driving enough to appeal to old-school punks. "Howard" moves into modern-day emo territory with its themes of societal rejection, but the Howard Hughes metaphor never gets stretched too thin and the bouncy hooks and upbeat bass line keep things from getting dour. Likewise, "Have Fun Storming the Castle" sets deceptively cynical lyrics about religion to a pop hook that practically begs you to sing along; calling out hypocrisy has never been so much fun. A large part of Bayside's appeal comes from lead singer Anthony Razeri's voice; though he's polished, there's a refreshing lack of artifice in his singing that, combined with the hint of a lisp, makes him sound a lot more human and original than most of today's pop-punk singers. The overall effect is a bit like a boyhood version of They Might Be Giant's John Linnell fronting Green Day, and is the perfect compliment to the album's slick production values, bringing in enough of a raw human element to counterbalance the pitch-perfect hooks and crystalline drums. Though still radio-friendly to the extreme, this album brings just enough of that real punk spirit in under the radar to keep things interesting; if more commercially-minded pop-punk sounded like this, the mainstream music scene wouldn't be such a wasteland.

Visit www.baysideisacult.com for more information.


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