Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue Acoustic (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
AMERICAN pop-punk band Yellowcard have had two reasons to celebrate recently: this year marks the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough single and its album of the same name, Ocean Avenue, while the track itself has just been certified platinum (over one million sold).
They commented: “On July 22, 2003 our lives were changed forever. We didn’t know what Ocean Avenue would become, but it is a chapter in our story that we will never forget. We knew that for the 10th anniversary of the release we wanted to do something more than just a tour.”
What they have done is re-record the album acoustically. And it’s a blast.
The acoustic delivery means that the punk edge has gone but it’s replaced instead by a greater emotional depth befitting the band’s maturity.
Hence, on a track like Only One (where lyrics include “here I go, scream my lings out to try and get to you… I let go but there’s just no one who gets me like you do”), there’s a greater depth of passion in Ryan Key’s vocals. What’s more, this is augmented by subtle use of strings too. The instrumental section where the acoustics combine with a violin is brilliant.
That same depth of emotional sincerity and connection is evident on another favourite, Empty Apartment, which also includes a terrific violin solo, as well as Breathing.
That’s not to say the album is completely serious. Aforementioned breakthrough single and title track Ocean Avenue remains a really terrific summer anthem that captures all that’s brilliant about days spent by the ocean (on this occasion, coupled with young love and ‘staying up all night’).
Similarly, Miles Apart breezes along with fiddles to accompany the brisk guitar work (and a genuine sense of longing in the lyrics), while View From Heaven manages to sound breezy and happy-go-lucky despite being a break-up anthem (“I’m sure the view from heaven beats the hell out of mine here”). There’s some good banjo licks here, too, as well as some stirring violin.
Inside Out is another seamless blend of all the aforementioned ingredients (and another highlight) and One Year, Six Months a nice variation on the format by placing bold piano arrangements to the fore for a ‘big ballad moment’.
Album closer Back Home is also a really well put together, slow builder of a track – an epic unveiled in acoustic form complete with cinematic string arrangements.
Overall, though, there’s not really a bad track here. It’s great to be able to revisit Ocean Avenue in such a wonderfully re-imaged form. In fact, a good album has just been transformed into a great one.
Download picks: Ocean Avenue, Only One, Empty Apartment, View From Heaven, Inside Out