Release Date: Oct 7, 2014
Record label: Razor & Tie
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Emo-Pop, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
Review Summary: Our darkest days are done.Time has a way of toying with one’s perceptions. At twenty seven years old, I can remember most aspects of my early to middle twenties with astonishing clarity – the drunk late nights roaming the streets of my college town, the terrifying jungle that is the US job market, the devastating pain of being left behind for a guy over four thousand miles away, and the unbridled joy of lowering to one knee and presenting the true love of my life with a rock of, sadly, a similar price. Of course this is all mostly a blur, but I can pinpoint any specific time over that span and recall exactly how I felt – what music I was listening to, who I was hanging out with, and what my outlook on my own future was.
The ninth long-player from the pioneering pop-punk outfit, Lift A Sail finds Yellowcard doing what they do best, offering up tightly rendered, hooky, melodic rock anthems that are as emotionally charged as they are accessible. Their first album to feature Nate Young from Anberlin on drums (Longineu Parsons III left the band shortly before recording began to pursue other musical interests), the 13-track set adds some relatively subtle flourishes of electronics to the mix while dialing back a little on Sean Mackin's signature violin playing, but fans looking to conjure up some nostalgia for the band's Ocean Avenue heyday will find what they're looking for on standout cuts like the catchy and propulsive "Make Me So," the big-hearted "Transmission Home," and rousing "Deepest Well," the latter of which features a guest vocal from Memphis May Fire frontman Matty Mullins. .
There’s been seemingly constant heartache and upheaval in the Yellowcard camp since 2012’s Southern Air, from violinist Sean Mackin’s battle with thyroid cancer to the departure of drummer and founding member Longineu “LP” Parsons, to the tragic 2013 snowboarding accident that left vocalist/guitarist Ryan Key’s wife Alyona Alekhina paralyzed from the waist down. It’s fitting then, that the band’s latest, Lift A Sail (and first for label Razor & Tie), is like nothing the group have released before, eschewing pop-punk for overdriven alt-rock and a plethora of power ballads. Key and lead guitarist Ryan Mendez crank through rockers “Transmission Home,” “Make Me So” and the soaring “My Mountain” with low-tuned fervor, but the group take a far lighter approach with the haunting “Madrid,” the airy, guitar-free “MSK” and sparkling closer “California,” a piano ballad straight from the Jason Lancaster playbook.