Music Reviews

EP REVIEW: Yellowcard – Childhood Eyes

Photo Credit: Acacia Evans

The title of Yellowcard’s new EP couldn’t be more appropriate. Their first new release since a surprise return last year sees the pop-punk veterans revisiting the sounds of their past, to make something contemporary, and ultimately quite brilliant.

EP opener, Three Minutes More, is very reminiscent of the flavour of pop-punk found on Southern Air and When You’re Through Thinking Say Yes. Sure, it’s a little more world weary, but it has the urgency of a band with something to say. Guest vocals from Pierce the Veil’s Vince Fuentes pack a modern punch, harmonising perfectly with frontman Ryan Key to bridge the gap between alternative rock, past and present.

Lead single Childhood Eyes is the sound of a band remembering the joy found in doing what they do best. For Yellowcard, that’s  penning lovelorn pop-punk anthems. Childhood Eyes is a pure 2003 banger, very much in the vein of Ocean Avenue. The chords and melody are simple yet effective, but like all the best pop-punk songs the lyrics will ring true, whether you’re 13 or 30.

This is a true statement of intent, and an excellent way to set expectations for this most unlikely of comebacks.

In contrast, Hiding in the Light revisits the edgier, abrasive pop-punk of Lights and Sounds and Paper Walls. The lyrics evoke a wistful nostalgia for young love, juxtaposed with what the future holds for an adult relationship, and the realities it will face. It’s angsty and loud, which has been Yellowcard’s MO for the better part of three decades. The exhilarating solos of lead guitarist Ryan Mendez and violinist Sean Mackin are anchored expertly by rhythm guitarist Key and bassist Josh Portman here. This track, more than any other on the EP, sounds like a band in sync.

Honest From the Jump revisits the more ambitious alternative rock seen on Lift a Sail, and the band’s final self-titled effort. The influence of Key’s recent solo work can also be heard here, as subtle electronic flourishes add a slightly different texture to this track. Unlike the two Yellowcard records this track resembles, however, the violins aren’t lost in the mix, and are in fact given more than ample opportunity to shine. It’s a beautiful and unique song in Yellowcard’s back catalogue, showing that there are still sonic frontiers left for this band to explore.

The EP closes with The Places We Go. Featuring Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carraba this is a softer, predominantly acoustic number. Musically and lyrically, this is not unlike tracks found on the solo, acoustic Dashboard Confessional records. It is an earnest, unashamed love letter to youth, growing up, and the music that made us. Carraba’s soft croon compliments Key’s voice perfectly here, helping to soften out Yellowcard’s punk rock edges.

Similarly to Fields and Fences from their self-titled denouement, there’s a little alt-rock riffery thrown in towards the end of the song. This, more than anything, distinguishes it from a standard Dashboard Confessional tune, and makes it a distinctly Yellowcard track.

Ultimately, this is a triumphant return for a much-loved pop-punk band. There is something on Childhood Eyes for fans of every era of Yellowcard, and enough here to suggest that there is plenty of life left in this band yet.


Standout Tracks: Childhood Eyes, Hiding in the Light

For fans of: The Wonder Years, New Found Glory, Good Charlotte

Written by: Tom Forrester

Tags : Yellowcard