After making their revitalized return on 2011's Killing Time, Bayside go from strength to strength with their sixth album, Cult. While the band hasn't lost any of its vigor, the album feels darker and more self-reflective. On "Big Cheese," the album opener, Anthony Raneri sounds downright cynical as he delivers lines like "And there will be a day when I sadly outlive all my useful traits, and when I look back I want to know we were more than just a fad." If Bayside are feeling a bit jaded, however, it's in mood only, as Cult is as tireless as anything the band has put out up to this point. And though it's clear Bayside are having fun injecting a bit of angst into their sound, there are plenty of moments when their poppier side shines through as brightly as it's ever been. But even on brighter numbers like "Stuttering," it seems that the bandmembers can't help but examine their motives for making an upbeat song, looking into the deep dark truthful mirror to reveal the burdens and sacrifices that can come from trying to please everyone all the time. Fortunately, this airing of grievances is as entertaining and enlightening as it is energetic. Although Bayside have plenty of songs about heartache, these critical self-examinations feel somehow more personal as they really get into the heads of the bandmembers themselves. And while fans will appreciate a self-aware look behind the curtain, there's enough raw energy and emotion here to hook in plenty of newcomers.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney