Words by Bill San Antonio
On Yellowcard’s first single off Southern Air (Hopeless Records), ‘Always Summer’, lead vocalist Ryan Key sings, “It’s always summer in my heart and in my soul.” The line is as defining a statement as one could make about the band’s mission, as Yellowcard has seemingly built its career upon one glimmering summer anthem after another. ‘Always Summer’ and Southern Air as a whole, really – is no exception.
The record is the second full-length from the band since coming off a four-year hiatus with 2011’s When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, and Southern Air is a refreshing return to the qualities that landed Yellowcard on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. The band truly straddles the hyphen in “pop-punk” with gritty, skater punk-based tracks like ‘Awakening’ and ‘Surface of the Sun’ mixed with poppier songs like the dancey ‘Here I Am Alive’ and ‘Telescope’. The ballad ‘Ten’, whose crunchy acoustic guitars filled with Sean Mackin’s smooth electric violin give the song a country vibe, may in fact be the most ambitious song on the entire record.
Southern Air doesn’t feel rushed, having followed When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes just a year and a half after its release – quite the opposite, actually. The record is a more mature Ocean Avenue, devoid of the “concept album” stigma that plagued 2006’s Lights and Sounds and free of the over-ambitiousness that bogged down Paper Walls. Released shortly after Warped Tour and prior to the band’s tour stints in Europe and the Far East before returning to the United States in the fall, Southern Air is Yellowcard at their very best and most familiar.
© August 14th, 2012
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