Sound — 9
Upon first listen, Old Crows/Young Cardinal seems like the type of album that might not impress fans of the band's older stuff. For me, being a fan since their self-titled album, I still like it quite a bit. Also on first listen, you might think that they got a new "screamer". Not so. While George's style of screaming/growling changed, he is able to pull it off in a way that sounds cohesive with the music and maintains a fresh sound. The clean vocals Dallas provides for the sound have always blown me away, and it's nothing short of amazing all over the album. Wade's vocals are harder to distinguish between George's new style, but he's still there in parts. The guitar work, while not too flashy overall, is still perfect for the type of sound Alexisonfire is trying to convey. It works well, just as it always has. Chris opens up the album on "Old Crows" with a nice dirty bassline, but is overall hard to hear among most of the songs. The drumming on all of the tracks is stellar and the fills that Jordan lays down are all pretty sweet. Overall, I like the direction this album went. Some fans might call it a departure from their old sound, but I feel like it's a pretty fresh turn after Crisis, which in my opinion is their best album to date. Sure it isn't perfect, but Old Crows/Young Cardinals will be playing on my computer for a while.
Lyrics — 10
Dallas' vocals as mentioned are nothing short of perfect, as always, and George's new style is pretty surprising at first. It kind of makes me wonder if it was choice or if he was sort of vocally forced to switch his style due to problems. It takes a lot of effort to produce the type of sound he used on the three previous albums, so I'm leading toward him not being able to scream like he used to. Which I'm okay with. I would hope they keep making music in the future and if he is unable to do what he used to, fair play. I like the way he changed his style and I'll accept it. Plus, it's easier to understand him, and he does have a couple of moments that throw him back to days of Watch Out! Or Crisis.
Overall Impression — 9
The last track, Burial, is amazing. Definitely not something you'd expect from the band. This track really closed out the album in an awesome way, making it potentially one of my favorite albums of theirs, ahead of Watch Out! and just behind Crisis, if I had to place them. While I like their self-titled a lot as well, I feel like if they re-recorded it, it could be even better than it is. But Old Crows/ Young Cardinals really makes me excited to see these guys live for the first time, hopefully after Warped Tour when they possibly tour in the U.S. Since I'm listening to the leak, there's no way it could get stolen from me, but I do plan on going out and buying this on. If you are a fan of the band, I'd recommend you do the same.