Valby Hallen, Copenhagen, DEN - 26/4
Written by: PP on 02/12/2016 00:03:40
Emotive New York City rockers Bayside keep churning out albums with frightening consistency every couple of years. Always subtle, never extravagant, yet always depth-laden and sublime in their execution of emotionally charged punk/alternative rock, they might be one of the most criminally underrated bands of our generation if we're looking back at their past six albums. "Vacancy", their seventh album, continues along the same lines and might even be their second best album overall after the modern emo classic, "The Walking Wounded".
Much like past efforts, "Vacancy" still balances on a razor-thin line between emo, punk, and alternative rock. It's the loudest and fastest Bayside album in a while, yet paradoxically also one of their most accessible albums, specifically because it's not as dark nor as driven by subtlety as their past few efforts. Anthony Raneri's signature style vocals filled with raw nostalgia will make longtime Bayside fans feel right at home, yet the dynamic riffs and inventive melodies will likely draw a legion of new fans in their direction, especially considering there isn't a single filler on this record. "Mary" is in contest for the best song of their career, the quirky, scaling melodies of "Pretty Vacant" underline the intellectual depth of this band instrumentally that rivals their lyrical wizardry, and the upbeat, semi-aggressive tone of "Rumspringa (Heartbreak Road)" showcases the subtle variety the band has always been able to offer.
It's hit after hit of some of the best emo/punk/rock you'll hear in 2016, delivered in classic Bayside style that makes symbolically few alterations to their sound. After all, their core concept has always revolved around subtlety, whether regarding quirky lyricism or even quirkier vocal melodies coupled with strong, powerful guitar sound and crisp production values. Granted, that cocktail has always made Bayside an acquired taste for most, because the strength of their melodies isn't immediately apparent from the first listen. Raneri's unique vocal style combined with their laid-back expression -- one that echoes Alkaline Trio and Smoking Popes' equivalent soundscapes -- has always been problematic for those seeking instant gratification from their listening habits.
That is also the case here on "Vacant", however, this time it is coupled with exceptionally good songs that, on any standards, approach brilliant when it comes to this genre and perhaps beyond. But that said, you know exactly what you're getting here: minimal adjustments to their sound, but eight songs and thirty minutes worth of smart, challenging tunes that should be on any credible top ten list this year.
Download: Mary, I've Been Dead All Day, Two Letters, Pretty Vacant
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, Anberlin
Release date 19.08.2016