Bayside – Vacancy (Hopeless Records)

Genre – Punk Rock

Long Island based four piece, Bayside, have returned with a venomous album that rings of hard-hitting punk rock from start to finish.

With pretty damning verdicts on the band’s last two albums, Cult and Killing Time, they were in danger of going past their sell by date and earning a reputation as a dull pop punk act living off the successes of the early albums, but Vacancy sees the band rejuvenated.

Previously Bayside found themselves labeled with bands such as Alkaline Trio due to their pop punk style sound, but Vacancy takes a much angrier approach that packs a similar punch to some of the early Against Me! albums.

Their seventh studio album is full of powerful vocals, racing guitars and cleverly assembled lyrics that combine to create an album that flows smoothly from start to finish, giving key focus to the weary, yet powerful vocals of Anthony Reneri.

Right from the opening chord of Two Letters, it’s clear lead guitarist Jack O’Shea means business. There’s none of the stereotypical pop punk sound we’ve heard over and over again, instead O’Shea sounds much more like a classic rock guitarist.

This classic rock sound that O’Shea has added is most evident in Springsteen-esque Mary. The easy listening track takes away the anger and adds searing guitars and country rock style vocals, with a chorus of ‘we’re going to make it out one night’ making for a real sing along number filled with hope.

While classic rock and venomous punk rock take centre stage on this album, Dead All Day, is perhaps the track that really stands out. The theatrical number would slide seamlessly into a rock opera and while it doesn’t entirely fit with the natural flow, the carefree vibe portrayed gives a stark contrast to the anger elsewhere, adding a new dimension to this album.

While Bayside have added an extra oomph to their sound, there is still room for some teenage angst in the form of Pretty Vacant, with its pop punk sing-along chorus of ‘I can’t believe this is my life’, showing the band haven’t forgotten their roots.

It’s been a long journey for Bayside, with plenty of soul searching, and it’s a long time since they’ve made an album filled with such excellent wordplay, simple truths and roaring guitars, so don’t write this one off based on their recent work – you’ll get a pleasant surprise!

RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 A Band Reborn