For Fans Of
The decision to record covers can be one fraught with danger. There will be members of the listening audience who dread their favourites being disrespected. Some bands, in their efforts to put their own spin on the original, end up churning out a song that they themselves wouldn’t (or at least shouldn’t) bother with if it were one of their own. Thankfully, on Bayside’s "Covers, Vol. 1" EP, they have not only remained true to the original, but provided us with an insight into where their pop sensibilities have originated.
Bayside have clearly set out to have some fun in the studio with this recording. While there are no over-the-top histrionics or embellishments with their versions of these classics, they perform them with the band’s usual tightness and skill. The result is that these songs sound very Bayside-ish, while also being instantly recognisable.
The five-track EP opens with the Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby‘ the song that Beach Boy Brian Wilson declared the greatest pop record ever made. It loses none of its impact in this version, and is a great opener for what is a fun EP. Followed by the Elvis Costello classic, ‘Oliver’s Army‘, we begin to see why the band provides their fans with such catchy, tuneful songs of their own.
One of the highlights of the EP appears on Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway‘, with guitar solo true to the original but also uniquely familiar to the normal Bayside style. Van Morrison’s ‘Wild Night‘, possibly more familiar to listeners due to the duet version by John Mellencamp and Meshell Ndegeocello from 1994, is again an enjoyable ride through the band’s record collection. The EP ends with an excellent version of Billy Joel’s ‘Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)‘, possibly a personal favourite of vocalist Anthony Raneri.
The popularity of the pop-punk cover, thanks to "Punk Goes Pop" compilations, and New Found Glory’s "From The Screen To Your Stereo" recordings, has shown that a good pop song can easily be translated into a version with heavier guitars and driving drum beats. Bayside prove to be masters of this, with clever interpretations of some unlikely songs. As this is Volume One, hopefully we can look forward to at least one more of these in the near future, as we await another full length Bayside original album.
1. Be My Baby
2. Oliver’s Army
4. Wild Night
5. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)