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Monday, February 21, 2011

Bayside - Killing Time

“I curse to hell the magistrate who granted this unholy faith,
but I know, I know I asked for this myself.
I’m bound by law to hell and it’s sick, sick, sick.”

If anyone is wondering how Anthony Raneri, lead singer of Bayside, is doing following his recent divorce, well, perhaps the above lyrics should give you a better idea.

Following a two and a half year absence, Bayside — who from 2004-2008 released four studio albums, a live album and an compilation acoustic record/DVD — are back on the scene with their fifth studio album — and major label debut — Killing Time, in stores Tuesday.

Bayside has been killing time making Killing Time, which marks the longest period they’ve gone — two and a half years — without releasing any sort of material. And if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

Bayside isn’t one to change things up with their punk/aggressive alternative rock roots combined with strong, damaging guitar riffs and Raneri’s Kermit The Frog-like, ill-timed vocals which work again masterfully on Killing Time.

Over their five releases, they’ve remained perhaps the most consistent band I’ve listened to in the past decade. I’m all for bands growing musically or maturing, but Bayside has been able to improve with each album but not abandoned their signature sound whatsoever, they just keep fine-tuning it.

Since the band got into a horrific car accident in 2005, which resulted in the death of their drummer — John “Beatz” Holohan — Bayside made a conscious effort to release music looking at the bright side of life. Getting up after getting knocked down, staying true to yourself and being proud of who you are no matter what the situation is are some common themes found on 2007s The Walking Wounded and 2008s Shudder.
Raneri is always wary too about “selling-out” with a plethora of songs dedicated to making the music HE and his band want to make. Not following trends, not being pressured by pop radio stations and not giving into demands of record labels.

But excuse Raneri if he sounds pretty angry on Killing Time following the “devil in a dress” making him “sick, sick, sick” as the album’s lead single suggests following his divorce.

For all intents and purposes, positivity has been thrown out the window throughout the first portion of the album, which include the hard-hitting opening track, “Already Gone,” which was released over four months ago.

“By all means I’m getting mad” - Raneri says over the song’s breakdown.

The third cut, “Mona Lisa,” has the most key changes of any other Bayside song, or any other song I’ve heard from any band now that I think of it.

“It’s Not A Bad Little War,” is a song about being in the music industry for so long and how hard it is to stay afloat

“we are our only chance in the world
If fate should fail us
Then hope will see us through
And we are our only chance in the world
So stand for something
Cause something’s overdue
I don’t ask for much
But this could define a lifetime”

“On Love, On Life” is the closest song Bayside has ever had to a ballad, as Raneri sings softly over a piano and an acoustic guitar.

While I wouldn’t call this best record the band has done, it is easily their best produced. And that’s thanks to producer Gil Norton, who is best known for producing records for Foo Fighters, The Strokes and Jimmy Eat World. It’s their biggest sounding album yet, its most polished and its most poppy with a lot of group vocals from the entire band appearing on many of the tracks.

“I’ve spent all my life, waiting for a moment to come.” - title track “Killing Time”

Bayside is a cult. That’s their motto. It wasn’t coined by them, but rather their fans. They have an extremely loyal following that has kept them successful in the underground and releasing Killing Time on Wind-Up records should get the band more mainstream exposure. With everything they have been through, they really deserve it and although I have never met them (outside of Raneri answering a few of my questions through various online communication forums - which further cements the fact that I am, indeed, a  loser) they seem very humble and proud of their careers and after a fatal car accident six years ago, they’re probably just glad to be breathing.

They’re still waiting for their major breakthrough moment to come, and this could be it.

By Nick Carrabine


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