Bayside "Interrobang" Album ReviewDate: October 10, 2019
By Valentino Petrarca
Ladies and Gentlemen, the bar for what constitutes a good punk record has been risen. When a record this cohesive, powerful, and near flawless drops, it forces all modern active rock bands to adhere to a higher standard. Never in a million years did I expect a rock artist to drop a record as good as this in 2019. Bayside has risen to the challenge and done what other rock acts simply could not. This record is absolutely incredible in nearly every aspect. Bayside has always proved time and time again that they are not to be taken lightly, and this record is no exception.
The sound and tone of this record is the most aggressive Bayside has ever been. Every song feels like it’s foaming at the mouth. Anthony’s screams are manic and command respect while simultaneously exuding pain. The guitars are constantly plowing through at full throttle and emotion. Every solo on this record really feels like the guitar is singing as proudly as it can. The bass is thumping in the best possible way and the drums are absolutely astonishing. This record is the audio representation of an explosive, spontaneous punch through a wall of rage. The pacing throughout the record is phenomenal as well. Every song bleeds into the next so perfectly. There isn’t a song I would add or subtract. Everything feels like it's exactly where it belongs. Usually Bayside has at least one or two sad slow songs on the album to complete the entire spectrum of sounds, but that was not the case with this album.The lack of slow songs is not missed, however. If they were to put a slow song on the album it would feel out of place. The album’s tone, instrumentation, and pacing is incredible.
Lyrically, the album is very typical Bayside. The lyrics are about dealing with the darkness of life and pain. None of the lyrics feel cheesy or forced. The message of the songs is very natural and honest. There are some very unique moments on the record when Anthony sings, “I lost my mind there, typical” and “getting old is so contagious”. The band really is giving it their all to send out positive messages about the negative aspects of life. Weaved throughout the songs is an ever-present hint of hope, even when talking about these dark times. It’s never emotional for the shake of being emotional. No lyrics on the album struck out in a bad way or made me cringe.
The only real negative to the record is the chorus of White Flag. It feels disjointed and very clunky. It does not flow nearly as naturally as the rest of the record does. However the verses, guitar work, vocals, and rhythm are all stellar. I feel almost guilty criticizing it. If only one song of 10 total has a weird chorus, it still makes for a fantastic album listening experience.
There are so many stand out tracks. The title track hits harder than almost any other song I’ve heard in 2019. The the pre-chorus is vicious, the chorus is powerful, and the guitars are furiously fast and emotional. The entire song is flawless. Prayers is the heaviest song they have released to date and it lands perfectly. Bury Me has incredible guitar work with some of the best angry vocals I’ve ever heard out of Anthony’s voice. Jack shreds as fast as he humanly can through the entire song on guitar, and the drums are always pounding. Tall is the perfect combination of rhythm and rage needed for a punk song. When the chorus hits, I guarantee it will blow you away. Numb is a slow chug that never ceases in quality or power. Don't assume that its slower tempo means it's any less crunchy or memorable than the other tracks on the record -- it might even be more so, with the second verse featuring a visceral scream from Anthony. Heaven is a fun song that feels like a celebration of friendship and life. Everything about it feels nostalgic yet also extremely new at the same time. Trouble is a song that starts out heavy, and quickly turns into a song I would expect to hear off of Vacancy. It has a full chorus with guitars riffing in the Major Key. There are so many stand-out moments and songs that it feels like this record was written to be played live.
Overall, some bands go their entire career without ever making an album as cohesive as this one. This record has a ferocious tone, stellar solos, powerful lyrics, full choruses, and ripping vocals. If anyone who even slightly enjoys rock and roll music is considering checking this record out, I highly encourage them to. It has made its spot on my personal albums of the year list, and I know it can do the same for you.
Valetino Petrarca is the Music Assistant for WSOU, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.