â€œI canâ€™t believe this is my lifeâ€ Anthony Raneri croons in the chorus of â€œPretty Vacant.â€ Itâ€™s a defining line that creates the backdrop of the misery that is Baysideâ€™s new album, Vacancy. Much of the album was written up after Raneriâ€™s second marriage ending. Locked away in a hotel room with his guitar, the bare bones of Vacancy came alive.The album is pretty dark throughout sounding like a mixture of Killing Time and The Walking Wounded.
Biting and acerbic, Bayside's seventh effort Vacancy is a walloping break-up album. Inspired by frontman Anthony Raneri's divorce and the subsequent fallout, Vacancy represents both the void left in the wake of his split as well as the literal signage on the Nashville hotel he called home after the separation. For the quartet -- rounded out by guitarist Jack O'Shea, bassist Nick Ghanbarian, and drummer Chris Guglielmo -- it's a continuation of a sound they've hinted at since 2008's Shudder.
They've never been better. Consistency has long been Bayside’s calling card, so it’s surprising – and important – that they’ve found new hands to play on ‘Vacancy’.Splicing their jaded, journeyman melodic punk with weird and eerie dramatic touches, from the baroque flair of ‘Not Fair’ to the jaunty carnival pianos of ‘I’ve Been Dead All Day’, they’ve broken the monotony of their last few releases.Anthony Raneri’s world-weary vocals remain at the fore, but the Springsteen-ish ‘Mary’ and swaggering, woozy ‘Enemy Lines’ put a compelling spin on his old touchstones. Wade through the filler, and the New York stalwarts haven’t sounded this fun in ages.
FILE UNDER: Theatrical, Anthemic Punk Rock ROCKS LIKE: Bad Religion, Queen, Alkaline Trio WHAT’S DIFFERENT: Bayside have always given a nod to showtunes, but with Vacancy they dig in. The band have fully embraced their theatrical side (“I’ve Been Dead All Day”) and created rock music worthy of filling any arena (“Mary”) while keeping a strong hold on their aggressive punk-rock roots (“Enemy Lines”). WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: If you aren’t part of their “Cult” already, it’s not too late to repent.