Released March 22nd
Yellowcard are a band often afflicted with the curse of their most successful album – on mention of their name, many people invoke the 2004 release Ocean Avenue, despite the fact that the quintet have had several releases either side of it. And never has this fact been more tragic than now, with the release of their seventh and arguably, their best, studio album.
After an uncertain few years for the Californian outfit, whose indefinite hiatus caused alarms bells to go off left right and centre, they return to the musical stage aesthetically and emotionally rejuvenated. When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes is an outstandingly complicated album, and at just 10 tracks long, it’s a joy to hear. It’s layered, intricate, and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, yet at the very same time, it’s uplifting and honest.
‘With You Around’, for example, is a much thinner offering than we are perhaps used to, which allows the exceptionally constructed melodies to shine individually. The ever omnipresent violin that has pigeon-holed Yellowcard as a emo-pop-punk band with a gimicky pseudo-Celtic sound, here comes into it’s own. It’s included as a complement to the overarching aesthetic of the track, rather than a contrived addition to set them apart from the remainder of the genre, which is a welcome move to say the least.
And although it’s largely less thrash, more simplicity, we are not in completely new territory. ‘Life of Leaving Home’ and ‘See Me Smiling’, with their pulsating drums and rather abrasive guitar accompanying the violin interjections, could very easily feature on an earlier Yellowcard record. We also have the token half-paced track, ‘Sing For Me’ that could see the quintet repeating a largely hackneyed formula. But despite affinities with previous releases, these tracks are anything but lazy – they hint at previous stylistic and musical ideas, but build upon them to give the listener something rich and new, without feeling the need to sever their musical roots.
Other notable moments come in the form of ‘Be The Young’ and second single, ‘Hang Me Up’. The former is a massively orchestral number, with thick and heavy musical strands falling over one another in a style that wouldn’t be out of place on a 30 Seconds To Mars record, yet somehow it remains unequivocally Yellowcard-esque. ‘Hang Me Up’ is on the opposite end of the musical spectrum, founded on beautiful wandering string melodies from the guitar and violin, and soaring vocals that are impossible not to sing along to.
Overall, this movement away from the the sound exhibited with Ocean Avenue is a welcome one, and is indicative of the comfort and maturity in the music they are producing. Somehow they manage to inject life back into the somewhat stagnant emo-pop-punk genre, with a sound that is relevant, upbeat and fresh. A truly excellent way to return to the musical arena.
Good: A mature, well developed record with beautiful interweaving melodies
Bad: Some tracks may appear a little samey on a first listen