Releasing their first album in three years, Cult is the next in the moderately long line of LPs from Queens-based alternative band Bayside. Paying homage to their dedicated fanbase, the group named the record after a term diehard fans have identified with since the four-piece’s formation in 2000.
Cult sticks to Bayside’s trademark dark punk sound, with strong elements of pop thrown into the mix. The band released the track “Pigsty” as thefirst single this past November, and couldn’t have chosen a song more suiting, as it showcases everything that makes a Bayside song, well, a Bayside song: catchy hooks, a strong guitar solo, and frontman Anthony Raneri’s crooning vocals. “Time Has Come,” the second track on the disc, serves as a pop punk anthem, complete with layered harmonies and a larger-than-life chorus that will without a doubt be a crowd-pleaser during live gigs.
As always with Bayside, lyrics are one of the most notable factors of the record. Raneri’s poetry is still sharp, coming off more obviously tongue-in-cheek than in previous albums. However, the subject matter dives deeper than just the normal talk of relationships, evident in the track “Something’s Wrong,” which deals with gender inequality (“All the boys celebrate their gender victory/Keep preying on the weak/And the girls celebrate defeat”) and the pressures of a demanding music industry in “Stuttering” (“But I have to write a love song/’Cause momma said I should/But I’d have to lose the minor chords/And I’m not sure I could”).
Overall, the album sticks to what Bayside are familiar with and what their fans have come to love, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cult is a fantastic return for the group and will have listeners singing along to every track.