Killing Time

Written by: PP on 22/02/2011 05:28:27

Although Bayside haven't changed all that much during their career, subtle modifications to their sound can be noticed when carefully comparing their albums to each another. The evolution from a band that merely sounded like the restrained melodic punkers Alkaline Trio into a formidable emotionally charged alternative rock band throughout their five albums has been a slow process where the band has honed and fine-tuned their incredibly consistent quality of songwriting to an accessible, yet intelligent mixture of the best elements from alternative rock, pop punk and straight forward emo rock (like Anberlin etc). It is a process, which has allowed the brilliance of vocalist Anthony Raneri to flourish, nudging his influences from all three genres together into a curious and extremely well executed contrast between dark and bright not just channeled through his singing style, but also through wonderfully precise quiet/loud dynamics and unforgettable chorus melodies.

Consequently, it's no surprise to find their fifth album "Killing Time" following the familiar emotional alternative pop punk sound as its predecessors. And given how consistent the band has been thus far, it is also unsurprising to discover the record to be yet another great display of their impeccable sense for light pop melodies drenched in melancholy and brooding, almost foreshadowing darkness. It is a contrast many bands have tried in vain, but one that appears easy and natural for Bayside, manifesting in instantly catchy power songs like "Mona Lisa" but also in the intriguing melodies of "It's Not A Bad Little War", which arouse feelings of nostalgia and intense emotion in any listener.

A few tracks see Bayside pushing outside their signature sound with mixed success. The quiet piano ballad "On Love, On Life" is awful not because it's a ballad per se, but because Raneri models his voice here according to mainstream pop singers (almost like Panic At The Disco's second album) and fails to come up with an exciting melody that would make up for the lack of the instrumental dynamics. "Sinking And Swimming On Long Island", on the other hand, carries an unusually grandiose and epic soundscape for Bayside, recalling My Chemical Romance's pre-"The Black Parade" punk-influenced emotional rock, an entirely new entry from the band. It works, however, though perhaps not as well as when the band simply sticks to what they know best: nostalgia-filled, emotionally charged, infectiously catchy (but not obviously so) alternative rock with distant punk nuances thrown in for good measure. And this is what "Killing Time" is yet another example of in the band's criminally underrated career of never-failing to impress this scribe.


Download: Mona Lisa, It's Not A Bad Little War, Already Gone
For the fans of: The Sleeping, Halifax, These Green Eyes, Alkaline Trio
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.02.2011
Wind Up Records

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