Review by Shannon Shumaker
Whether you’re a fan of Bayside or (somehow) just hearing Anthony Raneri’s voice for the first time, it’s no surprise that his new solo EP Sorry State of Mind is a total hit. Raneri’s voice is commanding right from the very beginning of the opening song, “Smithereens.” With soft guitar picking and jaw dropping harmonies, Raneri manages to hook you with only a minute long intro, leaving a lot of promise for the rest of this EP.
It’s hard not to compare the Bayside singer’s solo work to the band, but Raneri makes it somewhat easier to set the two apart when the chorus of the second song, “Gone,” finally comes in. Carried by strong synth and distorted vocals, “Gone,” actually sounds nothing like Bayside, which is a pleasant surprise. The only downside on this second track is in the over-produced sounding vocals toward the end of the chorus. There’s a lot going on in “Gone,” especially in the chorus, and unfortunately, it takes away from Raneri’s vocals, which started off incredibly strong in “Smithereens.” The quieter moments in “Gone” shine, though, and thankfully, Raneri plays off of those strengths for the rest of the EP.
“No Good” is a beautiful, heartbreaking ballad, and completely on the opposite end of the musical spectrum from “Gone.” This third song seems to go back to the roots that Raneri planted in the first song. The strongest part about “No Good” is definitely found in the emotional lyricism and raw vocals as Raneri sings, “Someday you’re gonna meet the man of your dreams/And I can say that it isn’t me/Cause I’m no good for you.”
The EP’s title track takes you on yet another journey, as again, it sounds different from the songs preceding it. “Sorry State of Mind” is on the more folk side of things which is a perfect fit for Raneri’s vocals, proving yet again that he shines more on the broken down and raw songs. “I Never Want To Fix Myself Again” is a mesh of the sounds found on “Gone” and “Sorry State of Mind,” with a full band, acoustic guitar and added synth. And then, closing out the EP is another acoustic track, “Run and Stumble.”
Anthony Raneri doesn’t play it safe on his sophomore solo effort, and for the most part, it pays off. The acoustic tracks give Raneri’s voice a chance to shine in raw vocal melodies and emotional lyrics, and the full band songs carried by synth are more on the catchy side, delivering more than most solo albums hope to. The only downsides are really in the overproduced moments that come few and far between. As a whole, this EP is a success, one that Bayside fans and new listeners alike are bound to enjoy.
Listen to "No Good"