Bayside releases cinematic album "Vacancy"
by Michelle Turk
Bayside will release their 7th studio album Vacancy on Friday, August 19 via Hopeless Records. This album has all the makings of a familiar, nostalgic Bayside sound. However, their collaboration with producer Tim O’Heir (Say Anything, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has the record also feeling like a soundtrack. Written following the lead singer Anthony Raneri’s divorce, one would argue that this is a breakup album. However most breakup albums are written specifically describing the sadness on would incur now that it’s over. Vacancy plays out scenarios as the breakup moves along with many theatrical verses and use of Hammond Organs, it is cinematic in its approach to a timeless feeling we all know too well: heartbreak.
The album opens with “Two Letters,” which is filled with Bayside’s signature angst and the type of guitar riffs that fans have grown to know and love. The tone on the guitar in the verse is so haunting. The lyrics in the chorus are clever and oh so Bayside. “Well I'm not so good with tenses/I'm tensing up thinking about/What I'm supposed to call you now.
For how angry and hard hitting “Two Letters” is, “I’ve Been Dead All Day” is disguised in a happy, upbeat sound with harmonies that give the first taste of how theatrical this record is. It has a flavor Bayside fans might appreciate- reminiscent of bands like Queen and Panic! At the Disco but with the distorted guitars of Bayside. And while Raneri might be singing about being dead all day, listeners will be humming this song all day. It is infectious in the chorus and haunting in its joyfulness paired with lyrics of heartbreak.
“Not Fair” is another song that is soundtrack-esque in its approach. In this song we get to hear more of Chris Guglielmo on drums. It’s exciting and narrates Raneri’s inner dialogue in which he is lighting a fire under his own ass. “That this is all a theme park/With a creepy carousel/Stop spinning around in circles/It’s time you helped yourself.” Everyone has faced either someone else telling them that it’s time to get your shit together or putting the pressure on themselves to change and “Not Fair” is the soundtrack to the moment. This song is one of the best parts of the band’s pairing with producer O’Heir.
One of the standout songs of the record that will be likeable by many fans is “The Ghost.” It’s an anthemic punk song. It feels very much like a song from their tourmates The Menzingers’ record Rented World. The meaning of song lyrically is hard hitting in a way that any person who’s been in a relationship that’s falling apart would understand. Raneri sings “I will change, I will change/Just tell me what to do/ Tell me who to be and I’ll be who you want me to.” Everyone has had that moment where they will do whatever to save the relationship or family they have. “I’ll be the ghost of something that used to mean something to you” leads into this short guitar solo that is classic Bayside.
Overall Vacancy is most likely going to be a hit or miss with old school Bayside fans but is a statement of Bayside’s resolve to be relatable but stick to their own sound with tasty lead guitars and Raneri’s one of a kind voice. Bayside celebrates their album launch with tourmates The Menzingers at Playstation Theater, New York on Friday August 19 and return back to the road for their Vacancy Tour through September.
Songs to listen to: “I’ve Been Dead All Day,” “Pretty Vacant,” “The Ghost”
View the full gallery from the above tour here.