Punk-pop group Yellowcard are far away from their debut album ‘Midget Tossing.’ I often employ fun uses of hyperbole for the sake of critical review, but here I’ll stick to the facts: ‘Southern Air’ is an excellent album and one of the best of the band’s career. It projects an atmosphere about itself that is unrivaled, and demands attention like the Pope outside Jerusalem or the surface of the sun, radiating musically like… Well, it’s a good album. And like any good album, it demands your attention.
‘Southern Air’ finds Yellowcard in a comfortable place, after releasing an equally excellent album just last year called ‘When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes.’ It’s a mouthful, but ripe with huge melodies and excised modern pop/rock. Their last album was 4 years prior, and was considered a deviation of their quality track record.
‘Southern Air’ is immediately accessible and pleasant, resonating themes of growth and getting past the tough times to the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s also a little on love here, straying just right outside the comfort zone of a dog going to the kitchen.
Fans should be excited to hear their signature violin sound is intact; ‘Always Summer’ relies heavily on the violin and features an appropriate solo almost exclusive to Yellowcard.
There aren’t any ballads here that rival the likes of last year’s ‘Hang it Up’ ‘Telescope’ gets close, but remains too cheeky to be a classic. The songs here have a more positive sheen, and almost teeter on bubblegum pop a little too strongly. ‘Here I Am Alive’ sounds like a Warped tour b-side over a to-tier Yellowcard track. ‘Rivertown Blues’ is nice and aggressive, but will likely be scanned over for its inability to do anything much different.
Yellowcard hit a clear stride here with their back-to-back releases, and ‘Southern Air’ is a worthy inclusion to the mainstream rock canon. All the aspects of Yellowcard are clearly intact and refined with radiance. And though this isn’t anything that will shake the foundation of rock, or shake Yellowcard fans for that matter, it does reaffirm that the band have more talent in consistency than their previous history would have you believe.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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