Bayside, 'Shudder' (Victory)

4
Shudder
Critical Mass
Label: Victory

by Kenny Herzog

The problem with Bayside's seventh release is messaging: Frontman Anthony Raneri wants to empathize with his listeners, but his emotions are too rigidly guarded and judgmental. The unapologetic refrain of "No One Understands" does little to dull the song's self-indulgence, and on "Demons," Raneri deconstructs someone else's shortcomings to the point where you're sympathizing with his subject. Shudder's strongest moments are the more inclusive anthems ("A Call to Arms" and "Roshambo"), when the focus shifts from Raneri's tepid attempts to relate to his band's increasinglytuneful mix of midperiod Weezer and boilerplate emo.

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