With their seventh album, Yellowcard has left the majors in favor of their indie roots. I’ve been a champion of this band ever since I heard their breakthrough record Ocean Avenue (2003), which spawned the massive hit with the same name. The post-punk band had a knack for imbuing their youthful anthems with the sun-soaked atmosphere of Southern California, and brought a unique element to the table with the use of violin amidst crushing guitars. As unintuitive as that may sound, the band’s formula actually works and creates a sound like none other out there – modern pop punk with a virtual Celtic twist.
But the formula works only if great, catchy songs are played. When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes gets off to a fiery start with “The Sound of You and Me.” There is a great song in here struggling to be heard, but that doesn’t happen until the drummer lets up – the first half of the song is ruined with the breakneck pace of the drums. It’s almost as if he hates this song and just wants to play it fast to get it over with. The familiar violin is front and center on “For You, And Your Denial,” which was chosen as the first single. I thought “With You Around” was more accessible, though, and I would have gone with that track.
Second single, “Hang You Up,” is a sweet mid-tempo piece that masterfully blends the violin to set the melancholy mood here – well done. Among the other cuts, “Hide” is a respectable upbeat tune with decent backing vocals, and the similar “Soundtrack” is even better. “Sing For Me” is the token ballad that should burn a lot of butane at their concerts. While unremarkable musically, I really enjoyed the lyrics of “See Me Smiling” – a song that expresses a hopeful wish that a certain lost loved one realizes the difference they made in our life.
“When You’re Through Thinking. Say Yes” is a solid effort sure to appease fans who have been thirsting for new Yellowcard for over two years – it’s another slice of the same cake they’ve been serving for the past seven albums. But it’s just not the Yellowcard record I’d reach for first when I get the craving for an emo-violin mashup. This time out, it seems the band has come up a bit short in the melodic category.
For fans of: Jimmy Eat World, All-American Rejects, and All Time Low.
iPod-worthy: 3, 4, 7, 8, 9
For all the latest on Yellowcard: http://yellowcardrock.com/
Check out the video for “For You, And Your Denial”