The Walking Wounded

Written by: PP on 09/02/2007 13:48:21

When I think of Bayside, I always think of a band like Anberlin in that their music has always been decent and listenable but has always lacked the uniqueness or speciality that would make me want to insert their disc into my record player instead of one by Silverstein, Bayside's label colleagues, who don't sound too different from them either. However, "The Walking Wounded" changes everything, it's as if Bayside went through some sort of metamorphosis before recording this album (perhaps the death of their drummer?), because though the band's trademark characteristics are there--the oddly careless non-flashy vocals by Anthony Reineri and the lowly tuned, much layered guitars--the band has evolved so significantly that it's hard to imagine these are the same guys who wrote "Bayside" two years ago.

I don't know whether it's the increased use of instrumentation and the integration of violins and even harmonica across the record, or the vastly improved songwriting, but the songs on "Walking Wounded" sound massively spacey, they are more layered, and they have much more space to breathe. The guitar solos are intensely 80s metallic and well crafted for an emo band like Bayside, and though the structure is mostly conventional verse chorus verse type, the tracks are catchy as hell. If you won't hum along to the "soooo hooooold back.. steadfast you've gotta breathe" from "I And I" you're either melodically challanged or you hate bands like Alkaline Trio. Anthony's vocals follow a similar "i'm melodic but try not to show it" stance as Matt Skiba's band does. This is also why Bayside hasn't blown up yet like most other Victory bands have by now, and instead have a cult-like fan-following bands like Moneen also possess. "Dear Your Holiness" has passages similar to those on the second half of Panic! At The Disco album, except that they come through as less flashy and more honest - another reason why Bayside hasn't blown up like they should be, given that they are one of the better bands on the much hated label.

What interests me the most in "The Walking Wounded" is how the record isn't dumbed down for the mainstream. This is a record that takes some effort to get into without ever sounding too complicated or too artistic. Whether it's the guitars that constantly layer on top of each, or the calm vocals that never explode or get out of hand that make this album so great, I leave up to you. But there's no question this is Bayside's best album to date by far.

Download: "They're NOT Horses, They're Unicorns", "Head On A Plate", "I And I"
For the fans of: Silverstein, Alkaline Trio
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.02.2007

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