Bayside – Acoustic Volume 3 (EP Review)

Originally Bayside was set to commemorate their 20th year with live performances with Senses Fail, Hawthorne Heights, and Can’t Swim this year. With 2020 being taken over by a global pandemic, the band decided to stay creative and safe by giving fans something special. So to celebrate their 20-year-anniversary, the New York Punk Rock act announced in late November that they would release their third acoustic EP, Acoustic Volume 3, on December 11th via Hopeless Records, Inc.

Since 2006, the band’s line-up has remained the same, with founding member Anthony Raneri (lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist) being joined by Jack O’Shea (lead guitar), Nick Ghanbarian (bass guitar), and Chris Guglielmo (drums, percussion). Spanning the past two decades of their career, the quartet has recorded eight studio albums besides their numerous EPs and a live album.

For Acoustic Volume 3, listeners will fall in love with the five tracks, which include two brand-new tunes: “Light Me Up” and “The New Flesh.” The new material sits alongside three reimagined classics—“Not Fair” from Vacancy (2016, Hopeless Records), “Poison in My Veins” from their 2004 debut studio album Sirens And Condolences, and “Prayers” from 2019’s Interrobang. Fans will be delighted with the two new tracks.

The EP starts off strong with “Light Me Up,” one of the album’s singles, which is a catchy, light-hearted ballad that fans will find themselves swaying and singing along to. Additionally, the music video for “Light Me Up” features fan submitted video snippets of their cherished moments.

Listeners will either fall in love with or despise the second track, “The New Flesh.” It seems the band is keeping things fresh by leaving fans on their toes by throwing in some banjo and finger snaps giving the track some folky vibes. Speaking of folky vibes, “Not Fair” starts off with a brisk tempo with a blend of strings and guitar. With a similar sound to “The New Flesh,” there is a little bit of bounciness to Raneri’s voice elevating the energy of the song. The relatable lyrics and the emotionally raspy vocals in the third verse are the real highlights of this track.

Lastly, the acoustic version of “Prayers” might eclipse the original. A heavy-hitter with deep, punchy guitars and warm, clear vocals in the forefront, the track captures the listener and leaves them completely entranced. The chorus alone will have the listener wanting to turn the volume way up and yell along “Save your prayers, your prayers, your prayers!” with their fists in the air, ending the record on a high note.

Hopefully by this time next year, we will be observing Bayside on the main stage again. In the meantime, fans have this remarkable EP to hold them over. With the holidays quickly approaching, Bayside fans owe it to themselves to indulge in Acoustic Volume 3. While some may find the folksier sounds of “The New Flesh” stray too far from Bayside’s norm, there is no faulting the band in finding ways to reinvent their sound and attempting something new. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Acoustic Volume 3 4.5 of 5 stars.

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