The crowning band of pop punk is back again with a new album that is arguably the best yet. Yellowcard has stepped out of their generic sound to create an album that can create new fans, and still provide what old fans were craving. Listening to Lift a Sail from start to end (which I can rarely do with an album), you can really tell that the band poured themselves into this album. Ryan Key’s vocal growth is one thing you can look forward to, as well as the guitar driven anthems we all know and love. The lyrics are also deeper than any other album that they have put out.
The overall sound of the album is a lot slower than most of their other albums, though they still have the upbeat songs like “Illuminate” and the title track “Lift a Sail.” Experimental is probably the most accurate way to describe the album, with traces of electronic instruments paired with the rock/pop punk guitar leads that hype up the songs. Sean Mackin opens up the album with an instrumental track that is focused around his violin, which sets the overall tone of the entire album.
Old fans will love this album because they not only get a newer sound, but they still get their catchy “sing at the top of my lungs” songs like “Make Me So.” Slower ballads fill in the transitions that will grab right at your emotions and throw you right into what Key must have felt when he was writing them, like “One Bedroom” and “California.” Key also completes his family story trilogy spanning across four albums in “My Mountain” which was written for his grandfather. Song wise, this album is genius. Is it their best album? That’s arguable, mostly because I’m still stuck on Southern Air. Unlike Lights and Sounds, Yellowcard really succeeded in knocking down the walls that kept them in their pop punk sound and let them experiment without holding back. And after all they went through prior to the release of this album, I think holding back is the last thing they should do.
They will also be following the release with a fall tour alongside Memphis May Fire and Emarosa. Make sure you check out the tour dates here to see if they’re coming to your town.