Bayside released their second full-length album in August 2005 and jumped on the road feeling stronger as a unit than ever before. Then on Halloween, their world was shattered. A van accident on the way to a show left their bassist, Nick Ghanbarian, severely injured with a broken back and their drummer, John "Beatz" Holohan, dead. Not surprisingly, the remaining grief-stricken members -- Anthony Raneri and Jack O'Shea -- dropped off the tour. However, amidst an overwhelming display of support from family, friends, and fans, they decided their bandmates would want them to continue on. Banding together as an acoustic duo for the tour's completion, Raneri and O'Shea returned to the stage to pay tribute to their fallen friends. Their acoustic sets were so well received that fans wanted to hear more -- hence, the release of the Acoustic EP. This album is based on their live set, comprised of studio acoustic versions of many of the songs from those shows. "Winter" is the poignant, heartfelt tribute to Holohan that pulls at your heartstrings with its chorus, "An angel got his wings and we'll hold our heads up knowing that he's fine." Smoking Popes' "Megan" is made especially memorable with guest vocals from none other than Josh Caterer, and considering the tragic situation, many of their songs, like "They Looked Like Strong Hands" from their self-titled effort, take on a further, deeper meaning. Moreover, some songs actually sound better unplugged, as Raneri's voice is especially compelling set to acoustic guitars, thus making this seven-song EP well worth fans' money.
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AllMusic Review by Corey Apar