Reviews Anthony Raneri New Cathedrals EP

Anthony Raneri

New Cathedrals EP

While he’s best known as the front man for Long Island pop-punk juggernauts Bayside, Anthony Raneri has been making a name for himself as a solo artist for some time. Participating in the inaugural Where’s The Band tour a few years back, Raneri charmed crowds with acoustic renditions of Bayside songs and select covers of Death Cab For Cutie, Bad Religion, and Matt Skiba. Now, Raneri has officially released his first solo album, the five-track New Cathedrals. Released by Raneri himself on his label Gumshoe Records, the EP is truly a testament to the do-it-yourself mentality. Raneri handled the release of the album himself without any additional help on the business side.

New Cathedrals shows a different side of Raneri than his flagship band. Joining Anthony on the EP is a slew of notable guest musicians, including Steve Choi of RX Bandits, Davey Warsop of Beat Union and Jarrod Alexander of My Chemical Romance.

The opening track, “Sandra Partial” is driven by Raneri’s strumming of the song’s chord structure over a country-like bass line and basic drumming. While New Cathedrals is a slight change of pace for Bayside fans, Raneri’s signature croon is still intact. The second song, “Charleston”, is more of an alternative rock anthem, driven by distorted guitar and organ that manages to drive the song home even in the background of the track. “The Ballad Of Bill The Saint” follows. Don’t let the title fool you: this is anything but a ballad. This is the one song that arguably hearkens to Bayside’s darkness and up-tempo feel, fusing the feel of the first two tracks together with the urgency of Raneri’s prior work. “Lead, Follow, Fail” keeps up the atmosphere of “Bill The Saint”. The song adds an interesting synth line over the verses that sounds like it would fit well with a 70s rock single; unfortunately it proves to be a bit distracting over the modern rock feel of “Lead Follow Fail”. The fifth and closing song, “Please Don’t Leave”, returns to the acoustic feel of “Sandra Partial” for the duration of the track, accompanied by just the snapping of fingers and a light bongo part. The song goes through the motions quite well and fades out gracefully.

Die-hard fans of Bayside will eat this up, without a doubt; but if you’re on the fence about Raneri’s work, you may want to start off with a Bayside record to get more acquainted. It’s a solid EP that seems focused for the most part, but still finds the direction straying from the herd every now and then.

6.5 / 10Gregg Harrington
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