Southern Air by Yellowcard (Hopeless Records)
Yellowcard spent the summer of 2012 trekking across the country on the performing to overwhelming positive crowds. A few songs on display within their live set were from their upcoming album Southern Air, a preview that left many waiting with breathless anticipation for the month of August to arrive. Southern Air has here at last, their eighth studio effort and definitely a triumphant achievement. The brave new renaissance for the band began last year with dueling acoustic and electric versions of their comeback album When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. Southern Air continues their exciting journey of rediscovery, and judging by the ten tracks contained within, there is no stopping Yellowcard now!
“Bottoms up tonight, a drink to you and I,” vocalist Ryan Key sings wistfully before Yellowcard explodes into the exhilarating refrains of Awakening – a pop punk anthem of epic proportions. Surface Of The Sun then slams into high gear, a fiery reverie about perseverance and overcoming adversity that should thrill the ears of all ardent Yellowcard fans.
Always Summer kicks in with its joyous melodies that could be their strongest song since the landmark Ocean Avenue burst onto the airwaves – an instant classic for the hottest of seasons or any time of year. “If I could write to the kid I was before,” vocalist Key then begins on the dazzling Here I Am Alone, another triumphant song that sounds like hit single material. This cut features a guest vocal from Tay Jardine of We Are The In Crowd and was co-written by none other than Patrick Stump.
Sleep In The Snow is a glorious sing-along that should really inspire audiences when performed live. A Vicious Kind then rocks through the speakers with its fierce melodies and impassioned “all I ever wanted was for us to beat the odds,” lyricism.
Telescope is a spiraling track, a wondrously memorable tune that will reverberate through your head like a warm summer vision from the past. This poignant composition also features the participation of Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low, Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday and (once again) Tay Jardine from We Are The In Crowd. “My only hope, you’re my telescope” will jangle sweetly within your memory for an eternity. Up next, Yellowcard sing the electrifying Riverton Blues with a high-flying sense of conviction.
Ten is an acoustic track that is absolutely heartbreaking, and is sure to affect even the most cynical of music critic. Closing out the album is title cut Southern Air, a grand slam conclusion to one of the most throroughly satisfying pop punk albums of the year.
Ryan Key shines on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, exhibiting once again why he is one of the genres most respected front men. Sean Mackin embellishes all songs with his trademark violin performances, adding an grand sense of fun and sophistication to the proceedings. Ryan Mendez handles the job of lead guitar and bass with imagination and flair. And then bringing it all home with a skilled precision is long time drummer Longineu W. Parsons III, presenting the driving beats with a magnetic vibrancy.
Produced to sheer to perfection by Neil Avron, a brilliant choice consider his past work with genre notables such as New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy, as well as every album Yellowcard has recorded since the breakthrough Ocean Avenue. Eight albums in, and Yellowcard can still deliver the goods and leave fans wanting to hear a whole lot more!
Editor’s Note: Since the recording, Josh Portman (ex-Staring Back, ex-Near Miss) has joined Yellowcard on bass, and was with them on Warped Tour this year.
(Review by Kenneth Morton)
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