Pop punk revival a breath of fresh air
Call it a comeback, a reunion, or even a recovery. Whatever it is, with their most recent album, Southern Air, Yellowcard have finally proven that they’re on the punk rock scene to stay.
When the American band’s 2003 hit ‘Ocean Avenue’ hit first graced the airwaves, rock lovers and middle school preteens alike hailed the tune as a perfect blend of pop and punk rock. So with their second and third albums, Lights and Sounds and Paper Walls, respectively, Yellowcard took a slightly darker approach, attempting to trade the bubblegum for more serious rock.
And the result did not sit well with their label at the time, Capitol Records, or with fans, as record sales reflected. Lead vocalist Ryan Key explained that the reception of those two albums had quite a taxing effect on the band’s morale.
“We felt like we did all this work for nothing,” Key told Amp Magazine. “We were all pretty bummed. I think everyone just needed some time away from it.”
So time away was exactly what they took. In early 2008, Yellowcard cancelled their impending European Tour and announced they were going on an indefinite hiatus. While the break only ended up lasting two years, Key pointed out that the time off was crucial for allowing the band to regain their original fervour. Without the hiatus, he suggested, Yellowcard might never have come close to replicating their ‘Ocean Avenue’ glory again.
“I know there’s no way we would have written When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes if we had gone directly into the studio when we realised Paper Walls wasn’t happening,” he said. “We wouldn’t have come out with the same energy, the same feeling that you get when you hear this album.”
While When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes was the band’s first official release since their return from a hiatus, violinist Sean Mackin says it wasn’t until their most recent record, Southern Air, came out during the summer of 2012 that the group felt completely up to speed again.
“Right now is a perfect form of awesomeness in the band,” he told Music Feeds. “The excitement from our fans, and other bands we tour with … it’s so unbelievable. We honestly couldn’t be happier.”
Mackin said that even after over ten years of experience touring and performing, Yellowcard haven’t lost their initial enthusiasm, which is echoed in the band’s signature sound.
“We all have so many influences whenever you get us together, we’re absolutely going to come up with that Yellowcard sound,” he said. “That’s just what we do. With this one, Southern Air, we were all focused in the same direction. And that doesn’t always happen, though you have four very different people. But when Yellowcard are firing up, it’s always exciting, and that’s where we are at now.”
Southern Air encompasses all of the catchy, violin-laced pop punk that fans have come to love about Yellowcard, with a hint of the energy and vigour that made ‘Ocean Avenue’ such a hit. In order to make their newest effort the best it could be, Mackin said, the band looked to their previous successes for inspiration.
“When we wrote Southern Air earlier this year, we really wanted to focus on the best of Yellowcard – everything we loved about it,” he said. “We tried to find all of the elements from our previous records, so we went back with [producer] Niel Avron, who’s our long-time friend.”
“He’s at the top of his game, without question one of the world’s best producers, and he confessed that this is our best record,” Mackin went on. “So Niel Avron doesn’t say things that aren’t true; it was a great honour to hear that, and that’s how we feel.”
It’s no doubt Yellowcard will bring their newly refound energy to Lille Vega when they take the stage on Monday night, and prove that these pop-punk veterans are stronger than ever.
Lille Vega, Enghavevej 40, Cph V;