POZ Review: Bayside - Cult
by Becky Kovach, edited by Erik van Rheenen
It’s strange that such a small word can have such negative connotations. Merriam-Webster defines it as a small group “that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.” Oxford suggests a group of people “having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.”
Bayside fans might beg to differ, though – they’ve been calling themselves a cult for years. Ask any fan what the word means, and they’ll tell you it’s a synonym for family, solidarity, and a sense of belonging. Now, the band has finally chosen to make the term official by naming its sixth studio album after the fans that have been there through the years. Cult, eleven tracks long and full of power and pride, is a testament to all that Bayside has endured to become one of the most consistent and influential acts of our generation.
The band has always been notorious for songs about betrayal, pain, and failed relationships. Last album Killing Time, especially, tackled the particularly nasty divorce of Bayside lead singer and lyricist Anthony Raneri. Cult continues this trend with songs like “Hate Me,” “You’re No Match,” and “Pigsty.”
“Hate Me” is bitter and broken down, a dark and crawling ode to a relationship reduced to mutual hatred (“You regret every single day/Oh, at least we found common ground”). It’s followed up by “You’re No Match,” a track that’s dominating force is a feeling of quiet acceptance; the band plays it up with despondent guitars and subtle drumming.