This Long Island quartet had already undergone several personnel changes since its formation in 2000 before a car wreck killed drummer John “Beatz” Holohan and severely injured bassist Nick Ghanbarian. Guitarist Jack O’Shea and lead singer Anthony Raneri (the only original member left at that point) pressed on as a duo, resulting in last year’s Acoustic EP.
With Ghanbarian back in action and Christopher J. Guglielmo ensconced on drums, the band teamed with Kenny Gioia and Shep Goodman – producers of its self-titled sophomore release, as well as albums by Lee Ann Womack, Mandy Moore, and Hall & Oates – for this, the group’s third full-fledged studio effort.
The 12-track result has all the goods to take Bayside from press darling “alt” rockers to the majors – smart, concise lyrics, memorable melodies, and, most of all, energy to spare. Nirvana and the Smiths are obvious influences, but the band’s identity is as strong as the material; for starters, Ranieri succeeds by not trying to ape other singers or affect a theatrical voice – the one he’s got is more than strong enough.
Likewise, O’Shea is equally adept on blazing lead, hooky fills, or rhythmic textures. Sonically, Gioia and Goodman make the most of the tight, perfectly matched rhythm section of Ghanbarian and Guglielmo, who simply kick ass. Despite the adversities, Bayside has clearly come out on top.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jun. ’07 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.