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Bayside – Vacancy

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    One thing I’ve come to respect about Bayside is they’ve always known who they are. They’ve never felt the need to reinvent themselves, and they’ve spent the last 16 years working to perfect a sound that’s entirely their own.

    The band’s latest effort, Vacancy, is no exception. It is a growling collection of songs that feels familiar on first listen, a true continuation in Bayside’s story and sound.

    The album further cements Bayside’s designation as one of the most consistent bands in punk rock today, while offering just enough surprises to keep longtime fans intrigued.

    It’s been two years since Bayside’s last album but it’s clear from the very beginning that the band has not been complacent in their craft. “Two Letters” opens with a sinister riff that gives way to a broken and battered bass melody. The song’s chorus is brash while the verses are more reserved, the back and forth mirroring Anthony Raneri’s conflicting emotions over what to call someone who once meant so much:

    It takes a lot to shake me
    My body breaks to figure out
    How to leave the past behind
    When it’s around all of the time
    And I don’t know what I should call you now

    Much of Vacancy chronicles the deterioration of Raneri’s marriage. This album is his diary made public – an unhindered look into the troubles he has found himself facing over the last couple years. The lurching “Behind Enemy Lines,” powered by rolling snares and darker chords, identifies Raneri as a “Yank in southern battlefields.” Meanwhile “Maybe, Tennessee” offers a wailing guitar solo, courtesy of guitarist Jack O’Shea, its mournful tone is a fitting backdrop to Raneri’s realization that he needs to escape from a place that is no longer home.

    Beyond the defeatist attitude is Raneri’s bitterness at finding himself alone again, most prominent in “Rumspringa (Heartbreak Road).” It boasts some of Raneri’s most vitriolic lyrics to date (“I’ll bring home the bacon/so you can bathe in it/and I’ll catch the red-eye home/if you insist/god knows you’ve gotta sleep an extra ten fucking minutes”) – as well as a seething delivery – while also offering a calculated and searing guitar solo.

    The songs that stick out are the ones that take the most risks while maintaining that signature Bayside self-assurance. “I’ve Been Dead All Day” experiments with darker show tunes-like melodies, its key-fueled bridge hauntingly playful as Raneri admits his relationship was never as well off as he wanted people to believe. He takes on a self-deprecating attitude in the bolder, poppier “The Ghost,” which asks:

    What would make you stay?
    I’ll move a mountain, I’ll change my name
    Don’t have to breathe if all my air gets in your way.

    Closing out the album is the somber “It’s Not As Depressing As It Sounds.” Though it works well as a stand-alone track, it does not live up to the standards set by Killing Time and Cult, Bayside’s previous two albums. The former gifted fans with a dark and brooding look at a life wasted, while the latter culminated in an unstoppable crescendo of gang vocals. But “It’s Not As Depressing As It Sounds” feels more defeated than defiant, choosing to accept things as they are rather than stand up and fight. It leaves the album feeling unfinished – like there’s still something left to be said.

    Maybe that’s the point. You’d think that after 16+ years, we’d have seen Bayside’s best by now. But Vacancy has proven yet again that “best” is a relative term, and there is still so much more to come.

    slickdtc likes this.
  2. lava890

    Regular Supporter

    I really like this album.
    Turkeylegz likes this.
  3. momo32t


    Nice review, but if I have to say anything, is that “It’s Not As Depressing As It Sounds” is one of the better songs they have made in the last few albums. I really feel like that song along with "It Doesn't Make It True" is a true culmination of the band's sound and lyrical content.

    I did not know what to expect after the first 3 singles but the back half of this record is really sticking with me. This album was significantly better than Cult and an argument can be made its better than Killing Time.

    I feel like Bayside really hit its stride with this album. Just a really well done piece of work that was worth the wait.
    Turkeylegz likes this.
  4. Gnarly Charlie

    Good guy, but a bad dude

    Great album, Bayside is so consistent
  5. mattylikesfilms


    Record is probably 3.5/5 for me. It has a lot of great tracks ("Two Letters", "I've Been Dead All Day", "Rumspringa", "Mary", and "Maybe,Tennessee") but I keep hoping the band will experiment more on the next record and they don't.
  6. bruinrk


    This album is so good. Been spinning it all week
    Turkeylegz likes this.
  7. Yellowcard2006


    Great album,great review.

    I recommend fans check out the "inside the track" feature on the Hopeless Records youtube for this album.
    mattylikesfilms and Turkeylegz like this.
  8. Anthony_

    A (Cancelled) Dork Prestigious

    It's funny, but for me I feel like the band has done a lot of experimentation over the course of its career, just never too much on any one given album. Like, each album has some songs where they play around and some different things, but overall they maintain relatively the same signature sound that we've all known since their debut. Tracks like "The Walking Wounded," "Boy," "Moceanu," "Objectivist On Fire," and "On Love, On Life," for example, show them stepping out of their usual comfort zone for some experimentation.

    So, while it's definitely true they've never released an album that, as a whole, doesn't maintain their usual sound, they have done some experimenting on almost every album.
  9. slickdtc

    Regular Supporter

    Great review.

    I was a bit worried I was falling off the Bayside bandwagon after all these years since Cult never sounded as good as everything else to me, but Vacancy has breathed new life in to both myself and how I view the band.

    "Two Letters" is the clear best track to me off this thing, but it's got some good ones all the way through.

    I spent the last few days with their whole discography on repeat and its so nice to be back to my roots. Bayside is a cult!
    Turkeylegz likes this.
  10. disambigujason

    Trusted Supporter

    i've gotta listen to this more but on first take i was pretty bored. progressively get a little more so with each release.
  11. TDenverFan


    Mary & Rumspringa might be two of my all time favorite Bayside tracks.
  12. Turkeylegz


    As someone who's been falling in the "Bayside is getting repetitive" camp, this album really felt like a breath of fresh air. Mary is one of my favorite songs this year. I've had this album on repeat since it hit apple music and am very excited to see them tonight!
  13. Bartek T.

    D'oh! Prestigious

    The album's quite cool, however I'll need to listen to it more than once. Becky you did great with the review though, I liked your word-choices on this one, after a good read like that I always think to myself I'd need to get out of my comfort zone, and stop using all the same phrases in describing thins :)
  14. becky kovach


    Thanks so much for the kind words!
  15. parkerxcore

    Somebody's gonna miss us Supporter

    Great album.
  16. GhostOverground


    Great review. I always wait a bit to read the reviews and see how I feel about an album, and this review captured a lot of what I felt just far more eloquently/in-depth than I ever could have written it. This album feels super personal, for obvious reasons. I thought it might be great after hearing Anthony on Shane Told's podcast, and it definitely delivered.