Yellowcard - Lift A Sail (Album Review)

Ocean Avenue had run the gamut as basically being the universally loved Yellowcard album. Paper Walls is fantastic, but it never garnered quite the well spread acclaim with the average listener. I think Yellowcard finally accomplished that with Southern Air. They had finally written an album that could compete and become a fan favorite over Ocean Avenue in some fans eyes and they also succeeded in writing an album that appealed to a younger audience the way Ocean Avenue did to the older audience. It's no surprise to me that they sidestepped their sound and went for another goal. I think the band and listeners were disappointed with the reaction Lights & Sounds got. I think it's an album that has some bright spots, but it wasn't as well received when it was released. It fell super flat for a lot of people. So this time around the band aimed to once again snag that elusive well written alternative rock album.

They can rest knowing they have finally accomplished their goal. Lift A Sail is a very good alternative rock album in my opinion. In some ways it really reminds me of Switchfoot's sound. No, it may not please some pop/punk fans that the band have sidestepped their sound once again to go in the alternative rock direction, but there is no denying that the band did a better job this outing compared to their last. The band turn the big loss of LP not playing drums on this album or being in Yellowcard anymore into a softer blow with the style choice. No band will ever be better off losing a fantastically talented drummer like LP. He's easily one of the more known and well respected pop/punk drummers of the last 10 or so years, but Nathan Young of Anberlin fits this sound and style very well. His drumming style is very different, but it's very good on this album. I think they found the right pick for the sound and style. Losing LP may hurt the band in the long run, but it doesn't impact this album as much as one might have thought when we originally heard the news LP was leaving Yellowcard.

The production is spot on. The band employ some neat tricks here and there. I like the way the album is mixed. It has some nice dynamic sounds. It's a very satisfying listen. The band cover a broad range of sounds and emotions; I think they captured the sound they are going for really nicely. The single "One Bedroom" has great pacing and really mixes the soft and heavy sides of this album nicely. I think it's a fair representation of this album and kind of what you'll get sound wise throughout the album all packed into the song. "Transmission Home" is a nice song that really kicks off the album after the intro track. The last song on the album, "California", could easily become one of my favorite Yellowcard songs. I like the stripped down, mostly piano based vibe. It's great lyrically and vocally. The title track "Lift A Sail" is a good song. I really dig the vibe and lyrics of the song. It has this great kind of somber opening before it kicks off and I like the mix of somber and heavy. It has some nice guitar and violin parts as well. The violin is used in big and small ways throughout the album. I like the use of it overall. "MSK" is a really neat violin based song. There are definitely a few songs that I would have liked the violin to be more prevalent in. The lyrics are easily something I point to as being really well done on this album after repeated listens. I think the vibe and style of the music really works nicely with the lyrics Ryan Key wrote for the album.

I'm not sure where this album sits on my list of favorite Yellowcard releases. I know I hold high places for The Underdog EP, Ocean Avenue, Southern Air, and Paper Walls and I'm not sure this albums unseats any of those releases on my favorite list. I will say, though, that I see myself listening to it a lot and genuinely like it as a whole album. I enjoy the maturity of it and the songwriting. The band shows that they can successfully show another side of the band and sound. I think it's a big accomplishment. I encourage people to give it a listen. Yeah, some Yellowcard fans might be more than unhappy that they aren't getting their usual Yellowcard in pop/punk mode, but this is a long running band that has had a career built on albums like that. I don't see anything wrong with taking a small sidestep and writing an album like this if it's well done and has quality songwriting. To me this album succeeds in those areas and turned out to be a nice listen.

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