Bayside’s new album, “Acoustic Volume 2” (Hopeless), shows how much has changed for the band since its first “Acoustic” album in 2006.
When that album came out, the band was one of the Long Island scene’s brightest stars, still reeling from the 2005 accident in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when their van hit an ice patch and flipped over, injuring the entire band and killing drummer John “Beatz” Holohan.
“I have a detachment from these songs now,” says singer Anthony Raneri, calling from his home outside Nashville. “Writing them is cathartic. They came from heartbreaking places. But you will see me onstage singing them and smiling. That’s what this genre is all about. We’re celebrating that we’re still here. You’ll see the audience sing along and smile. It’s a celebration of the bad times. It’s like laughing in the face of disaster.”
That emotional distance has allowed Bayside to look at songs from its past in new ways for “Acoustic Volume 2,” in stores Sept. 28. “Sick, Sick, Sick” has a bit of swing in it now. “Howard” has more of a groove.
“We did a lot of experimenting,” Raneri says. “There were no rules on this record other than: It’s gotta be special.”
When they decided to tackle “Devotion and Desire,” Bayside knew it had to make it extra special since the song already appears on the first “Acoustic” album. “I was listening to a lot of Gipsy Kings,” Raneri says. “That’s why it’s super percussive. There had to be a reason for including it again.”
Songs didn’t always become more upbeat. The stunning, stripped-down version of “I Can’t Go On” is even more heartbreaking than the original, with all the distractions removed to put the focus fully on the wrenching lyrics and Raneri’s delivery. “I’ve always seen that as the most depressing song I’ve ever written,” he says, jokingly adding, “And now we’ve accomplished exactly what we wanted with the song.”
Raneri says the band is currently working on its next album, but will take a break to tour to support “Acoustic Volume 2” for a few months. He adds that Bayside is in a much better emotional space these days.
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“Everyone is either married or living with someone,” he says. “We’ve been recording about 45 minutes south of Bakersfield. We hole up in the house and just play and cook and talk. It’s great for us.”
Bayside will perform and sign autographs at Looney Tunes, 31 Brookvale Ave., West Babylon, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26. The band also plays The Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn, on Dec. 7. Tickets are $27 through Ticketfly.