Over the years, Bayside has pretty much perfected their sound as an alternative rock band with hints of punk rock, and this album continues that trend. This was the first release of 2011 that I was REALLY looking forward to, and it did not disappoint.
I’ll just come out and say right now that “Already Gone” is (and will be) the best album opener of the year. It begins with a fast drumroll, then a pick scrape leads you into a groovy riff that sounds just like a basic scale. The melodies are some of the best the band has ever written… verses, prechoruses, and the choruses… I wouldn’t have done any of it differently. It serves as a GREAT intro to a rock album. The second track, “Sick, Sick, Sick” was chosen as the first single off the record. I’d say it was a pretty good choice as it’s catchy and has one of those hooks that will stick with you long after listening to it.
“Mona Lisa” takes things down a notch, but it still a fantastic track. The vocals really stand out here. “It’s Not A Bad Little War” is nothing to write home about, but still solid. Has some fun “whoaa ohhs” sprinkled throughout if you’re into that sort of stuff. “Sinking and Swimming On Long Island” is probably my least favorite song on the album and one of the most boring songs the band has ever written. Nothing memorable about it and it feels like it just drags along. We pick up the pace with “Seeing Sound”. This is one of those songs that sounds like it’d be super fun live. It’s just a great rock anthem with singalong parts. Up next we have my personal favorite, “The Wrong Way”. This song is fast, intense, and just a rocker. Plus, there’s a special place in my heart for gang chants. “Believe! Believe!” And the solo just shreds.
“On Love, On Life” is up next. This is the softer, ballad type song of the record. Ironically, the very next song (“The New Flesh”) might be one of the harder/louder songs on the album. I can easily picture a jam packed venue going crazy during this song. This better become a staple in their future sets. The last song “Killing Time” has arguably one of the catchiest choruses they’ve ever written. Definitely one of my favorite tracks on here and a great ender.
I should note that Jack O’ Shea shines on this album… the man doesn’t get recognized enough for his guitarwork on lead guitar. And Anthony Raneri has never had better vocals. I’m not sure yet where I’d rank this in their discography (this is their 5th full length), but it’s definitely in the upper half.
Music video for “Sick, Sick, Sick”: