If you were a pop-punk act in the early 2000s then you were surrounded
by bands like New Found Glory, Simple Plan, and
Good Charlotte. The rhythms were punk, but the vocals and
melodies were pop. Now ten years have gone by and surprisingly
there's a decent amount of said bands that are making their way
back into the scene, all the while attempting to reclaim their
original fans and take in a few new tweens along the way. But
there is one band who made a name for themselves a while back
and have managed to keep that name strong ever since. Yellowcard
has technically been making music since 1997 with their first
LP release Midget Tossing. However, most of their fans
today will remember those lead-in bass strums of "Ocean Avenue"
as their first YC experience. And so, with their recent release
Southern Air they are celebrating 15 years on the shelves
and the new one is pretty good.
Pop-punk has changed a bit in the past 10 years, the tempos aren't
quite as quick and the bass has taken a step back, lightening
up the mood a touch. But Yellowcard has managed to morph its music
in sync with the transitions in the genre. So for Southern
Air we're treated to a new sound. "Awakening" starts
us off with a lead guitar slightly distorted and oddly comforting
with its warm notes. Eventually some synth'd notes move the song
to an almost subtle dance groove. A brief pause and you're suddenly
knocked down by the kind of punk thrash that Yellowcard knows
how to do best.
Oh the violin, it is truly one of the coolest elements of the
Yellowcard sound. And in "Rivertown Blues" it gets to
be front and center. This has got to be the fastest tempo on the
entire album, but those strings keep up with every beat. Between
the chaos of the percussion and guitars it's actually surprising
you can hear the violin at all. But it's always there, and makes
sure to remind you of that fact about 2 minutes in with a beautiful
orchestral break. Sure there's a classic rock guitar solo near
the end, but it's those strings that resonate through your ears
after the song is done. For a complete change of pace "Ten"
was thrown on the record. A strong acoustic guitar is the main
backbone and sets an incredible stage for a heartwarming story.
At one point your ears are filled with a symphony of strings and
a soft bluesy guitar ween. The quality and strength behind this
song makes you swear you've heard it before, but it's completely
theirs and completely beautiful. You want to listen to it again
and again, just to make sure you hear every amazing part.
As a whole the album is still categorically pop-punk and yet
perfectly balanced for yesterday and today.
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