Hi friends! Today we will learn how to make a derivative emo rock band. Yes, I know your CD case is probably packed with derivative emo bands already, but find a place in your heart for one more. They’re easy to make! First, take the gloomy imagery and masochistic lyricism of Alkaline Trio, then add the melodic vocals of Midtown and stir in the metallic riffs of Thrice. Simmer on stove-top for fifteen minutes and chill overnight. In the morning, revel in the glories of music that can be described completely with characteristics of better, more established bands.

The band we just created is Bayside, one of Victory’s latest signings and yet another buzz band from Long Island. On Sirens and Condolences, Bayside lacks any unique elements that can be called their own (unless you count the uncanny resemblance to Alkaline Trio) and show very little song variety. While the album starts to pick up towards the end, the last three tracks are unable to compensate for seven tracks of tedium.

Highlights are few and far between, but each of guitarist Jack’s solos outshines all other aspects of the music and manages to resuscitate the songs, at least temporarily. Singer Anthony’s vocals are generic, and while the dark, self-loathing lyrics are above average in these trying times of “wahhh my girlfriend dumped me na na na” songs, the melodies and vocals are ineffective. Songs like “Phone Call From Poland” and “Masterpiece” just don’t grab the listener; the album as a whole is neither catchy nor exciting and the debut fails both as a product and an artistic collective.

In fact, Sirens and Condolences is pretty close to terrible, spiraling into the underworld of the mediocre and uninspired. Decent efforts like “Poison In My Veins” and “If You’re Bored” may find their way onto a worthy mix or compilation, but most of the album leaves lasting impressions of being rushed fillers. Bayside, who started up during the winter of 2000, are still a young band with potential and if they are able to find a niche and style of their own, they could achieve some level of success. The talent is obviously there, but the majority of the work here is unmemorable at best. To make matters worse, some of these songs gave me the overwhelming urge to take a cheese shredder to my ears.

(Victory Records)

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