Victory, 2005

REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Bayside is a mixture of punk and rock. So is a lot of music these days. But this band sticks out because of Anthony Raneri's lyrics, continuing a trend of bands like Count The Stars and Spitafield that manage to tell a convincing story. Victory Records has a reptutation for finding these bands that have a message that speaks to people.

Mastering its material with a cocky and self-assured attidude, Raneri makes it easy to disagree with him. To do so is folly. "Hello Sh*tty" kicks off as an ultra-short introduction to the band, ending with the haunting "I was all that you had" lyric that sets the stage for a release of hostility and perspective. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

To follow up such a dramatic conclusion to the opener, Bayside goes over the top. Raneri and bandmates (guitarist Jack O'Shea, bassist Nick Ghambarian and drummer John "Beatz" Holohan) change gear with a longer track that traces a relationship gone bad. Raneri informs the listener that "my mouth's shooting blanks / this situation unbearable / I've gotten vulnerable" followed by a sort of reconcilliation when he sings "My darling / I'm taking my life back to start healing."

That is a prevalent theme on this release. There is also a realization that the life of the past is maybe not the life of the future. Raneri explores this in multiple tracks. First, in "Tortures Of The Damned," he comments that "I'm burned out at 22 / I lived too fast and I loved too much . . . I've made mistakes / but I'll find my way."

There is more searching and hope in "Blame It On Bad Luck." Take a journey out to and you will be able to witness the universal appeal of this song. It speaks of hope and being able to move forward in life, respecting the past but knowing that the future is where the action is going to be. The chilling lyrics that give me goose pimples are when Raneri tells us "And now I think it's time to realize self pity's meaningless / though I'm 10 feet deep / I'll claw my way back out from in my grave." My only misgiving about this song is the inclusion of two F-bombs that prevent it from being a classic.

"Don't Call Me Peanut" is another highlight. Raneri tells his subject to "drink up beautiful / I filled your cup with angst." The song is slower than the other material, causes the listener to pause, collect his or her thoughts and get ready for the final two upbeat rockers that close this release.

Already two years old, this release showcases a mature band that easily outdistances the underachieving 2004 debut Sirens And Condolences. This is the Bayside release that you should start your collection with.

Rating: A

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