Despite their melodic, moody emo tones, New York’s Bayside clearly have no intention of being kept down as they stride into their twentieth year as a band.
Following the release of eighth studio album ‘Interrobang’ in 2019, the band have continued a series they started in 2006 with an unplugged EP, ‘Acoustic Volume 3’. Whilst the previous stripped back volumes have had double digit track lists, this EP is short and sweet covering a select few tracks from the band’s two decade old discography.
Uplifting and romantic, ‘Light Me Up’ is the only brand new song to be written for this effort. A softly strummed guitar is backed only by a slow drum beat, and midway a fast guitar solo takes centre stage, which gives the track the feel of a Spanish serenade. As the EP ventures forth, it continues to surprise with its worked tracks that are barely reminiscent of the originals.
Twanging in country and western fashion, ‘The New Flesh’ (originally performed on 2011’s ‘Killing Time’) drops the fast and furious punk rock and replaces it with a whimsy and charm. Equally different is ‘Poison In My Veins’, not only because it’s a rework but because this track is a deep dive into a much younger band. Plucked from Bayside‘s 2004 debut record, ‘Sirens And Condolences’, the vocals are completely different, and, for many casual fans, this will be a brand new song to check out.
‘Prayers’, one of the heaviest songs to feature on the aforementioned ‘Interrobang’, is one of the most recognisable tracks to turn acoustic with little change to the song’s bones. However, the simple replacement of electric for acoustic and the slowed down pace of the track convert that aggression into something that feels darker and more menacing. This version of ‘Prayers’ really drills into the black emo soul of Bayside.
A well curated track list given a thoughtful revamp, ‘Acoustic Volume 3’ is an EP that showcases Bayside as a band who know their sound but are able to be versatile. Diving in and out of the moody sweet spot that they know so well, each song feels like a unique experiment that has passed a rigorous quality control phase to earn its place on this short listed record.