[11 February 2009]
On their fourth album, Shudder, Bayside offers up grand anthems of hopelessness that sound like what would happen if you crossbred Weezer with My Chemical Romance. Bayside’s sonic resemblance to Weezer may be attributed to Shudder‘s producer Dave Schiffman, who has worked with that band, as well as Jimmy Eat World. Songs like “No One Understands” and the album’s quirky closer “Moceaneu” demonstrate the group’s subtle shifts in instrumentation that perforate Bayside’s melodic, three-chord pop/punk riffing.
In terms of lyrical content, Shudder runs the cathartic gauntlet. The disc’s opener, “Boy” delivers a heavy dose of the aforementioned soaring hopelessness while “A Call to Arms and “Have Fun Storming the Castle” are harmony-laden, angsty metaphors for adulthood. Other tracks like “I Can’t Go On” and the somber guitar wailer “Demons” are just astoundingly beautiful, standalone pieces. In terms of a genre album, with Shudder, Bayside stands head and shoulders above their more mainstream-acclaimed emo contemporaries. It doesn’t offer much different than the standard formula utilized by bands lumped into a similar category, however, Bayside does it much better with more melody and genuine lyrical pathos packed into each song.