It’s fairly obvious that Anthony Raneri doesn’t need advice or an introduction when it comes to his music.
Therefore, Raneri’s collection of songs on New Catherdals is vast and interesting as no one song sounds like another. So the genre can basically be referred to as a question mark. It’s comparable to New York State- it’s a little bit of everything. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that Raneri is a New Yorker.
New Cathedrals opens with the country-tinged bittersweet love song, “Sandra Partial.” It’s easily the record’s best track and it makes you wonder if he has other alternative-country tracks up his sleeve. Man, we need them.
The hodgepodge of “Charleston” was the only song specifically written for the EP. It’s layered with a pop finish over ska guitar parts that resurface in later tracks. But if you’re looking for “Bayside” tracks, only “The Ballad of Bill the Saint” comes close with its dark lyrics such as, “Oh Jesus Christ he says I think I’m doing fine but it may be time for bed/ And I think hey I hate this game it hasn’t always been this way where men are judged by their mistakes.” Reminiscent of Mike Ness’s solo work, it too is acoustic punk. While this track was released in an acoustic form a while back, I almost daresay that was better-except the simple rockabilly style drums in this finished version save it.
Similarly, the lyrics of “Lead, Follow, Fall” come from the Killing Time era but musically, it’s out there. You certainly couldn’t have jammed this on to a Bayside record because its electric keyboard parts and bouncy guitar are kind of like Motion City Soundtrack. Yet it ends with the mentality of go grab your friends so you can sing, play air guitar to basic chords, and have it feel so right.
Nothing says “I don’t try” like hand drums because reggae songs always seem unfinished, but there are hand drums on “Please Don’t Leave”…and it works. Again, maybe it’s that “it’s Anthony Raneri duh” thing, but it’s like this reggae style won’t phase you even if pop indie, punk, ska, and country songs precede it.
There is a gang of guests that provide some musical addition to New Cathedrals. On the recording, Steve Choi (RX Bandits), Davey Warsop (Beat Union) and Jarrod Alexander (My Chemical Romance) help out on the drums and keys.
New Cathedrals isn’t bullshit d.i.y. either. Raneri has built up enough of a fan base that he doesn’t need a label (this EP is released on his own creation, Gumshoe Records) or any management. Nobody threw a million dollars behind this project- it’s just all soul. You get the feeling he does this because he loves it, and he does. Yeah, he doesn’t need to be told what to do.