Yellowcard – “When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes”

After a two year hiatus, Floridian pop-punkers Yellowcard are back with their seventh album When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. Originally, they met with mixed opinions over having a violinist (Sean Mackin) in their regular line-up, adding a new and interesting element to their pop-punk sound. After the popularity of Ocean Avenue in 2003 though, their unique mixture of pop-punk with added strings became a unique and significant sound in the genre in the following years.

I always found Ocean Avenue to be a good record as it brought the band into the public eye, but after this they seemed to fall short of the mark with their following albums. It’s clear on When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes that Yellowcard are going back to replicate the sound and the dynamic they had on Ocean Avenue (that of deep, chugging, staccato guitars and flowing violins and riffs in the chorus) but also trying to evolve their sound to stay relevant in a genre that has seen bands come and go with popularity in the time they were simply on hiatus.

When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes has a lot of what made Yellowcard so recognisable with songs like With You Around and Sing For Me almost coming straight out of the Ocean Avenue era. While these songs are good, it makes it seem as though Yellowcard are living in the past rather than evolving their sound to become something more cutting edge.

That being said, songs like album opener The Sound of You and Me evoke certain feelings of nostalgia that remind fans why they liked Yellowcard in the first place with its swirling, high-end guitars, and first single For You, And Your Denial shows an element of evolution among the band that keeps them in the present day through its pounding riffs and lyrics of “Desperation kills, but when it’s on your sleeve you wear it well”. While the strings may not play as prominent a part on the album as a whole, when used in songs like this they make more of an impact rather than blending into the background.

Second single from When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes is the slower, more melodic Hang You Up. While its lyrics of “I don’t hear music anymore, my ears are tired of all the pictures in the words, you are in them still” may seem typically love-struck, its melody and execution bring emotions to the surface of the listener rather than allowing them to switch off from the album for any moment.

Life of Leaving Home is another song that shows a new side to Yellowcard with its use of heavier riffs mixed with melodic choruses and high-end guitars, owing more to post-rock rather than their usual pop-punk sound and is definitely a highlight of the album. Hide and Soundtrack also give long-term fans something to enjoy with the latter in particular using more of the sound that got Yellowcard the notoriety they have now, and uses more prominent strings during the chorus. See Me Smiling is another evocative song that Yellowcard do so well with Ryan Keys vocals giving the lyrics their meaning, before Be the Young rounds off the album with a snippet of what Yellowcard are gradually becoming through their changing sound.

When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes easily has a lot that fans of Yellowcard’s earlier work will be pleased with, but there are also a few gems here that can attract fans from a newer brand of pop-punk bands.

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