When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes

Written by: TL on 23/03/2011 00:04:16

I wonder, how many of you people have been missing Yellowcard? Actually, I wonder how many of you know of them, seeing as the band took a significant dip in popularity, falling from the soaring heights they had reached with 2003's legendary "Ocean Avenue", upon the release of 2005's "Lights And Sound", which saw the band make significant departures from the sound that blew them up. And while our own PP may have deemed 2006's "Paper Walls" a return to form, it didn't seem to fully reignite the band's hype, and perhaps that factored into the band's decision to go on hiatus in 2008, when they informed fans that they needed an indefinite period of time to sort out their personal lives.

Fortunately, this 'indefinite hiatus' proved to be shorter than most, as long time core members singer/guitarist Ryan Key, violinist Sean Mackin, lead guitarist Ryan Mendez and drummer Longineu Parsons reunited in August last year (and were joined by new bassist Sean O'Donnell), with the intent of recording "When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes", which hit stores today yesterday (four minutes late! dammit!). The new album sees the band do away with the slightly angsty edge of the sound that characterized "Paper Walls", and instead positions itself in between the sunny vibes of the classic "Ocean Avenue" and the more cinematic sound of the song "Gifts And Curses" off the soundtrack for the Spiderman 2 movie.

Now if you're an old fan, you'll likely have ecstatic feelings reading those words, because as we know, the "Ocean Avenue" days were when the band was at its best, and the two opening tracks, "The Sound Of You And Me" and "For You, And Your Denial" will remind you of that time, via their high tempo, prominent violin melodies and super-catchy choruses. "With You Around" is a step slower, but no less catchy, and credit goes to the band for working a tribute to Saves The Day into the lyrics.

For these first three songs, the album is stellar and pretty much headed for the heights of "Ocean Avenue", however, after them, things are occasionally grounded just a little bit. While it occupies the same track number, "Hang You Up" does, for better and worse, not deliver the same youthful pathos as did 2003's "Empty Apartment", and frankly it is both more mature and less memorable for it. It seems that in general, Yellowcard's awesomeness becomes a little more hit and miss as soon as they try their hand with slower material.

Now the good news is that firstly, while the ballad-type songs, like "Be The Young" and "Sing For Me", are still somewhat sappy, they at least emit a sort of conviction (it reminds me of mid-era Jimmy Eat World) which prevents them from appearing quite the super corny yawners that many pop-punk bands use for filler. Secondly, as soon as the energy level is upped, things are instantly smooth again, as is proved with further decent outings like "Hide" and "Life Of Leaving Home". The bad news is that the track ordering makes the album sort of imbalanced, with by far the best songs appearing first, and the later ones seeming worse than they are in comparison. This is the sole thing that could conceal what I think needs to be recognized here: Namely that a) this kind of California pop/punk/rock doesn't really come around all that often anymore, especially not with such a consistent level of quality, and b) if you really listen to this album one song at a time, it's probably as close to "Ocean Avenue II" as us fans are ever going to get.


Download: For You, And Your Denial; The Sound Of You And Me, With You Around, Hide
For The Fans Of: Amber Pacific, Sugarcult, Marianas Trench, Jimmy Eat World

Release Date 22.03.2011
Hopeless Records

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