With the exception of a 2 year hiatus, Los Angeles based Floridian quartet have been doing their thing for about 20 years now. Yellowcard is the group’s 10th studio album and, late in June, the band announced that it would be the ultimate Yellowcard album. That’s ultimate, as in final. After completing their tour in support of the album – scheduled to conclude in early 2017 – Yellowcard are calling it a day and, through their website, they are exhorting fans to “come and join us on our last trip around the globe. We hope to share this final record and tour with each and every one of you.”
For their last hurrah, Yellowcard demonstrate that they have spent the 2 decades of their career honing their unique pop-punk sound – unique for the inclusion of violin, courtesy of founding member Sean Mackin – and song-writing skills. Featuring all the sounds and structures that one expects from a pop-punk outfit, Yellowcard is a polished album with the distorted guitar – lush with harmonic content – of Rest In Peace well-chosen to open the record, and as the lead single. Rest In Peace pivots expertly to an acoustic-rock sound at times, and Mackin’s violin fits in unobtrusively, adding a nice aural texture.
Criticising pop-punk songs for being formulaic is akin to shooting fish in a barrel – and is to overlook the charms the genre has to offer – and certainly it is a weakness that is evident on many of Yellowcard’s songs, such as A Place We Set Afire. But Yellowcard manage to distract from this shortcoming by the inclusion of unexpected musical elements – the violin and strings of A Place We Set Afire’s bridge, and the electro-vibe of What Appears. Utilising piano on Leave A Light On provides a surprising, and welcome change of pace, as does the folksy guitar riff of I’m A Wrecking Ball.
Audiences to the band’s farewell tour will be well serviced by Empty Street and Savior’s Robes, which feature rolling, crunchy, rock tones. Assuming Yellowcard’s break-up sticks – not turning out to be another hiatus – Yellowcard will stand as a solid summation of all Yellowcard have learnt and achieved over their 20 years as a band.