Sound — 6
Pop punk group Yellowcard first captured the attention of a worldwide audience following the release of their 1997 studio album, humorously titled "Midget Tossing"; however it wasn't until seven years later that the band would break into the mainstream with their hit radio single "Ocean Avenue." Yellowcard's interesting choice of instrumentation immediately allowed the alternative rock group to stand out from other bands just merging into the scene, by adding eloquent violin playing to their Weezer-esque punk rock style. And since the release of their now out-of-print debut, Yellowcard have issued a number of increasingly successful studio albums; the last of which being "Southern Air," which debuted at number ten on the Billboard charts.
Yellowcard are now revisiting a number of their greatest hits and fan favorites and this time playing them acoustic style, in case you could not infer from the album title. "Ocean Avenue Acoustic" features thirteen tracks built around the exact same choruses, lyrical delivery, violin playing, bass pounding and drumming that comprised the original renditions, but this time revived with bright acoustic work. There are not too many cons that come with this release for me to focus upon. The collective performance from each member of Yellowcard is standout, and their new takes remain true to the studio versions.
Those same songs that fans have listened to time and time again, when played acoustic style with the same bright vocal melodies that coated the original versions, provide some familiarity to piece, yet also some freshness. These revisitings sound brand new, perhaps even better than the original releases, and the end result is much better than I originally anticipated.
Lyrics — 7
Lead vocalist Ryan Key does a noteworthy job at providing that aforementioned familiarity to these new acoustic takes. Whenever the band begins to move into more expansive territory with the acoustic guitar playing, it is Ryan's lyrical delivery that keeps the song remaining true to the original renditions. His vocal range has remained very much intact since the band's debut, and by that I mean he can still hit the same relatively high notes in the chorus of "Ocean Avenue" without any apparent struggle. When you are going back and revisiting some of your greatest hits, it is important as a vocalist to to be the anchor to your band's original studio versions. And Ryan does exactly this with "Ocean Avenue Acoustic."
Overall Impression — 7
Yellowcard decide to move into a new direction with their new studio outing, "Ocean Avenue Acoustic." Instead of issuing another album of new material, the band instead decided to go back and revisit a number of their greatest hits, this time playing them acoustic style. While it may not have been exactly what their fanbase have been waiting for, what we do have with "Ocean Avenue Acoustic" is a refreshing take on some familiar songs that established fans should have no difficulty in enjoying for themselves, as well as any follower of the pop punk music scene.