For a lot of bands, the possibility of releasing two full-lengths in the space of 18 months is a big ask but in the case of Yellowcard, the response from last year’s comeback album ‘When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes’ was so much overwhelming for them, they headed straight back into the studio to record ‘Southern Air.’
However the problem with releasing two albums in such a close period, leads to the possibility of ‘Southern Air’ potentially being a lacklustre follow-up. Thankfully ‘Awakening’ restores any doubts as it has all the favourable characteristics a great Yellowcard song should have; bright, catchy guitars, sweet violins, and harmonized vocals. Definitely a strong start.
Admittedly ‘Southern Air’ doesn’t show much in terms of progression in Yellowcard’s sound but in comparison to ‘When You’re Through…,’ it’s a more focused and cohesive effort that manages to keep your attention throughout. The bands knack for bright poppy hooks are a mainstay; most notably on ‘Always Summer’ with its summery, nostalgic lyrics and driving rock guitars. Whilst ‘Here I Am Alive’ makes good use of We Are The In Crowd’s Tay Jardine’s guest vocals, giving it a pleasing radio-friendly sound.
After hearing tracks like ‘A Vicious Kind’ and ‘Rivertown Blues,’ its clear that Yellowcard are a rejuvenated band who have a new found hunger for making music. Both tracks thrive off that bands refreshing energy with intense drums and poppy vocals from Ryan Key.
Despite the bands relentless hunger for delivering well-structured pop rock, ‘Ten’ offers a sweet and sombre moment that plain and simply leaves you stunned with heartbreaking lyrics; “You would be ten, and I would driving you to school/You would be telling all your friends I was cool.” Whilst twanging guitars and sweet violin strings are a natural, beautiful fit. It really does tug at the heart strings.
The title track rounds off the album in an ideal fashion; bright, refreshing with a strong and welcomed nostalgic tone.
With ‘Southern Air,’ Yellowcard have produced a confident pop-rock record which should draw in new listeners. It is a more concentrated effort and is well-crafted throughout, leaving you hooked from start to finish. I’ll even go as far as saying it’s better than ‘Ocean Avenue,’ which for some is a bold remark but on ‘Southern Air’ Yellowcard have took all their best known characteristics and pushed them to the forefront and combined it with a rejuvenated approach with the end result being a resonating, warming record.
‘Southern Air’ by Yellowcard is released on August 13th through Hopeless Records.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)