Bayside – Sirens and Condolences (CD)

In the same vein as some of the other recent signs to Victory Records, Bayside play a very Weezer-influenced style of rock that draws definite parallels to fellow label-mates Taking Back Sunday and Capitol Records’ own Yellowcard. Anthony’s vocals on “Sirens and Condolences” are extremely clear and reminiscent to Blake Schwarzenbach’s, and the guitars are extremely anti-septic throughout the same period. Drawing more inspiration from bands like Warrant and Poison than Fugazi and Embrace, Bayside finds solace in the cheese-metal solos of the former. However, these guitar solos (especially prevalent in tracks like “Poison in My Veins” and “Phone Call From Poland”, are now hackneyed and actually are one of Bayside’s strongest suits. However, what really needs to be showcased is Bayside’s utter disregard for time signatures, starting and stopping on a dime and using disharmony to create a staged sense of chaos.

Bayside really knows how to insinuate mood into their guitar lines, something that is utterly needed since Anthony is simply not able to go and bring eir’s voice out of the melodramatic. However, in tracks like “A Synonym for Acquiesce”, Bayside can create guitar licks that perfectly match the over-the-top melodramics of Anthony and make them seem a little less false than if the lines weren’t there. However, throughout the entirety of the CD, there is a feeling that I received that just screams out to me and says that Anthony’s falsetto is not necessary the most fitting voice that could go along with the slightly harder-edge of the rest of the band.

“If You’re Bored” is the artistic and musical high for the band, coming in just before the end of the disc. With anticipatory guitars flittering throughout the stanza of the songs, the rest of the band comes in to do an totally uncharacteristic “oooh” and “aaah”, before going into an earthy and emotive set of guitar lines. With a guitar solo that will blow one out of their seat, and lyrics in the song like “But you lost a friend the day that you let go to drown in the sea of regret and no one knows.” The bass finally makes an attack upon the rest of the band in “Just Enough to Love You”, and while the line itself is pretty simple, it provides a stark contrast for the semi-apathetic voice of Anthony doing the track. Overall, Bayside puts out a decent disc in this, “Sirens and Condolences”, but they are at a definite period where they can either go extremely commercial or extremely idealistic.

Top Tracks : Kellum, Poison in My Veins

Rating: 6.8/10

Bayside – Sirens and Condolences / 11 Tracks / 2004 Victory Records / http://www.baysiderocks.com / http://www.victoryrecords.com / Released 27 January 2004 / Reviewed 01 February 2004

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