Written by: PP on 14/01/2020 19:07:18

Aside from its awful title (what the hell is "Interrobang" anyway?), Bayside has once again delivered a consistently good, rock-solid album of emotionally charged punk-meets-alternative rock on their eighth album. There are few surprises compared to previous output, but fans will appreciate the angular riffs and continuing depth songwriting-wise, whilst Anthony Raneri delivers yet another high-powered performance, perhaps sounding angrier than usual on songs like "Bury Me"?

The same is audible instrumentally to some extent. Some segments feel almost metallic with screeching solos and technical leads dominating a sound. Indeed, Bayside has never shied away from introducing heavier guitars to their expression, but here the distortion is at the far-end from what we've heard from the band throughout their career.

But to be fair, these are minor stylistic alterations in an expression that stays true to their signature sound. The complex guitar/vocal dynamics still recall Alkaline Trio in places, but at this point, Bayside has formulated a soundscape that's inimitably theirs. It's subtle, nostalgia-driven, and laid-back, often requiring a multitude of active listening sessions before the songs open up. But the reward can be found in between the lines within the depth of the songs: especially the mid-album hit-parade of "Tall", "Medication", "Numb" and "Heaven" is pure bliss for any fan of emotionally charged alternative rock.

Where "Medication" is aggressive and punk-laden, "Numb" is almost balladic in its slowly creeping melody and Raneri's introspective vocals. Both highlight the strengths in Bayside's style: they're able to drive home songs with dynamic riffs and catchy vocals alone like in the former, but also to offer unconventional melodies and tempo variations like the latter without the quality suffering. "Heaven" even mixes in a brighter pop punk expression effortlessly.

In the end, "Interrobang" is once again one of the highlights in its genre this year. While not quite as brilliant as its predecessor "Vacancy" that took the band to their highest level since "The Walking Wounded", it's yet another piece of proof that Bayside is one of the most criminally underrated bands of our generation. Who else do you recall putting out eight albums of strictly great material?


Download: Medication, Bury Me, Numb, Heaven, Prayers, Tall
For the fans of: Alkaline Trio, Smoking Popes, Anberlin, These Green Eyes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.10.2019
Hopeless Records

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