Yellowcard – One for the Kids

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Nowadays, the pop punk market is so disappointingly saturated that a band needs something a little bit different, a little special or out of the ordinary. New Found Glory fell down very disappointingly in this area; but, you’ll pleased to know that Yellowcard haven’t fallen into the same snake and bear trap filled pit.

Despite the cliched use of stars within the first song, ‘Starstruck’, it possesses a relatively varied sound throughout; first projecting an almost biting attitude, but slipping , unfortunately into a rather predictable chorus – ‘But I grew up, wishing on a star’ – which is a shame, because the verses are far stronger. Following on the tempo gets a dose of morphine for ‘Drifting’ which reassuringly dispels any fears you may have had of the album being similar throughout. The beat skips and jumps throughout, and as soon as a launch into a long progression seems inevitable, the drums will stop – with only the vocals and a single guitar left. What becomes immediately evident, toward the end of the song, is the inclusion of a violin to the array of instruments; an unusual choice, but it is undoubtedly innovative and adds to the song, and album, greatly.

‘Something of value’ is the first of the accoustic tracks, starting with a melancholy enough mood – however, it progressively takes on a darker tone, and as the layer of drums is added, the song becomes increasingly scathing; intermittently forgetting it’s sadness for the chorus before a subtle yet fitting violin intermission. ‘Trembling’ starts in an uncomfortable way, though quickly redeems itself and becomes a very listenable song – proclaiming “I’m so scared of never having anyone” before moving aside for the strong guitars; the song is over relatively quickly, presumably for the tour de force that is ‘Sure Shot’. It becomes increasingly easy to see why Yellowcard have received so much attention lately, with songs such as this – the violin and guitar go from 0 – 60 in a split second with a sound that is, refreshingly, genuinely different. Due to the fact the band has a member dedicated to the violin, it doesn’t remain just a token use of an instrument either, but continues throughout the song, cutting in where it thinks it’s needed. It finishes how it began, though finally runs out of caffeine and has to stop.

‘Big Apple Heartbreak’ assumes a relatively humble persona, until the chorus when it seems the whole band opens; the bridge is fantastic, building slowly from some fast drumwork – and from here the song only gets better, to the climatic last 14 or so seconds. The welcome contrast between this and the next track, ‘Cigarette’, another accoustic song, with vocals that manage to display a large degree of what can only be described as a kind of pleading desperation, which intensifies as the song goes on. ‘October Nights’ and ‘Rock Star Land’ don’t qualify as filler, yet seem to slightly weaker than everything else on offer; especially when superceded by ‘For Pete’s Sake’, with a clean guitar and sincere violin, the song already qualifies as ace; thankfully what could have been a 4 minute slog is broken down considerably into different sections (and the inclusion of a top gun riff only makes it better). ‘A.W.O.L’ is also likeable, but overshadowed by the rest.

Overall? A good album, with a couple of slightly weak tracks; this isn’t across the board genius, yet there is a great deal of quality music on here to warrant the deserving 8 out of 10 – and if you’re after some genuinely distinctive and original pop punk experience, buy a one way ticket to Yellowcardsville.

nick

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