Sound — 9
Bayside delved into something relatively new for themselves on their acoustic CD. After the tragic death of drummer "Beatz" Holohan, the remaining members decided to finish out their tour acoustically. They then went into the studio, and recorded acoustic versions of 7 songs, two new full band songs, and a live version of "Don't Call Me Peanut". This Bayside record gives a different perspective of the band, that for some reason I have come to thoroughly enjoy, each time I listen to it. The heavier songs, like "Masterpiece" and "Devotion and Desire", translate extremely smoothly from full band to acoustic.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically, Bayside is Bayside. Angsty, emotional, emo lyrics that tend to get redundant. But the acoustic album does bring at least one bright(ish) spot to the table: a cover of the Smoking Popes' "Megan". But even then, the song is still about loss. Vocally, Bayside offers a slightly unique voice. But the thing about the best part of the vocals is the incredible melody lines created by the guys (more specifically lead vocalist Anthony Raneri). The melody lines are ridiculously catchy (listen to "Blame It On Bad Luck"), and well devised.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this is probably my favorite Bayside album. This is for many reasons, but mostly it all boils down to that the combination of the acoustic guitars and Raneri's voice create a beautiful fusion. The acoustic rendition of "Montauk" is probably my favorite, although I really enjoy the raw, gracious live version of "Don't Call Me Peanut". I think the only thing bad that can come form this CD, is that for the ensuing Bayside releases, I will always find myself wondering "I wonder how this song would sound on acoustic" (seriously, imagine "Duality" or even "How To Fix Everything" on acoustic).