Words by Bill San Antonio
What kind of impact are you making on the world? What will you leave behind for your children, for your culture and society? How will you be remembered? Those are heavy questions that may not fully resonate if you have not yet become a Man or Woman of a Certain Age (and if you’re 23 like me, they likely haven’t) But they are always worth asking, if only to maintain perspective in understanding that the world is bigger than your home and your job and the place where you buy your coffee in the morning.
After more than a decade of toiling in heartache and navigating young adulthood, the guys in Bayside finally start asking those questions on CULT, their sixth studio album and first on Hopeless Records. Their third outing with producer Shep Goodman, who also worked on 2005’s Bayside and 2007’s The Walking Wounded, Bayside have struck a sonic balance between melodic punk and aggressive hard rock, complete with complex individual musicianship highlighted by searing guitar solos that decorate nearly every track. With CULT, Bayside have finally finished chiseling the marble on their sound, maintaining a consistency with their 2011 full-length Killing Time and 2012 follow-up E.P. Covers: Vol. 1 indicative of a band that knows what it wants and knows when it has it.
So for a band that has captured its formula for future worthwhile releases, as well as one whose loyal fan base and respect within the northeast alternative scene ensures its capability to tour whenever and wherever it likes, Bayside’s thematic direction on CULT is certainly interesting. They’re not young punks anymore and life is starting to get more complicated than ever, with responsibilities that may eventually overshadow solely writing and playing music – and their music is starting to reflect that. But from the opening “Big Cheese” – in which singer Anthony Raneri philosophizes, “I love to be wanted / but all I want is to be loved / is that so much? To be remembered / and never swept under the rug” — to its midpoint, “Stuttering” – “Cause I’m the voice of the depressed / and that’s what everyone expects / give the people what they want / then it hangs over your head” – and the late “Objectivist on Fire” – “And I am getting older all the time / running out of days to get it right / I can’t believe I wasted all my life / chasing after something I was never meant to find” – Bayside examine their place in music in a myriad of ways, though always on their own terms.
© February 18th, 2014
TheWaster.com | CULT