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Yellowcard - Where We Stand

  by Alex Halls

published: 18 / 10 / 2005

Yellowcard - Where We Stand
Label: Takeover Records
Format: CD


Re-release of increasingly prolific Ventura-based band Yellowcard's gritty debut album, which was recorded in 1999 during their school days

'Where We Stand' was originally released during Yellowcard’s high school days and effectively looks into the past of a band that has since broken into the market. Originally released in 1999 it gives a good background to how the Ventura-based band have evolved since their creation in 1997. There are certainly some deficiencies in the sound on this album, whereas on recent albums the majority of these have been ironed out. 'Where We Stand' is being issued by Kung Fu Records but the band are now on Capitol Records, home of the popular Less Than Jake and Jimmy Eat World. Yellowcard represent the more pop-oriented part of punk, one that continues to appeal to the new punk generation; a generation that is undoubtedly attracted to the band’s remarkable ability to vary the sounds introduced into their music. On a negative note, the sole, major disappointment with 'Where We Stand' must lie with the occasional, rather non-inspirational vocal structures that rarely allow the music to get into top gear when the slower sections are introduced: frankly it can get quite boring. Nevertheless, the faster melodies are often accompanied by more apt singing which aids the music along. Since then front man Ben Dobson has been replaced by Ryan Key, making for a more practised sound. As is often the case with early band albums, 'Where We Stand' is a mere ten tracks long, which makes it a little harder to observe with a critical eye. One obvious observation is that the sound is much grittier than what Yellowcard produce now, which, at times, can be a shame as there is plenty of liveliness flying around on 'Where We Stand'. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the album typifies American high-school punk rock of the day, yet it indicates where the strengths of successful bands may lie. One of these strengths is exhibited in 'Time Will Tell', which moves into quasi-classical music mode near its end. The excellent introduction of the violin adds a sumptuous layer to the guitars; a feature that remains Yellowcard’s forte to this day. On 'Doesn’t Matter' the violin presents itself again superbly but this time in a non-classical sense, giving another rough-edged sound to the band Yellowcard; one that allows for an edge of mysticism to creep into the music. Last track, 'On the Brink', can be rated as by far the most impressive on the record. It has the speed and rusticity; it is caustic but wholly pleasant: it seems to make musical sense with its timely introduction of slower paced sections. Perhaps it may have been better placed as the opening track, but there’s also nothing better than ending on quality too. Whilst 'Where We Stand' has its major faults and disparities in sound, the album still has enough in the tank to give extra mileage to those who have embarked on a trip into Yellowcard’s soul. If you have a penchant for classical instruments then, every time the violin kicks in, the salivation process will commence and, even if this proclivity is missing, the supplementary sound simply makes for a more diverse listening experience which, in effect, whets the appetite. If the promotional releases of Yellowcard’s new album, 'Lights and Sounds', are anything to go by, then there will be a fair few puddles forming on living room floors around the world come January 2006.

Track Listing:-
1 Lesson Learned
2 Time Will Tell
3 Sue
4 April 20th
5 Uphill Both Ways
6 Kids
7 Doesn't Matter
8 Sorry Try Again
9 Anywhere But Here
10 On The Brink

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