As Yellowcard’s debut on Capitol Records, Ocean Avenue is a symbolic testament to the success of this quintet from Ventura, Ca. Formed in 1997 with no fanfare and backyard gigs, the lineup shuffled and left the balmy retirement homes of Jacksonville, Fla., to pursue their talents in punk-infused SoCal. Quickly, after stamping out two acclaimed albums on indie labels, the group were snatched by Capitol for bigger waters.
Ocean Avenue is the quintessential modern punk album. It’ll bring rookie fans to the genre as MxPx did a decade ago. Countless nouveau-punk upstarts have landed on stages in recent years, each out to reinvent the music and bring in their unique blend, but most fail to complete the picture as eloquently as Yellowcard.
As one of the only punk bands to have a classically trained violinist on the ticket, Yellowcard’s Sean Mackin makes his mark notable in the 13-track Ocean Avenue. His symphonic violin accompaniment leads the songs through rapid riffs and harmonized vocals to the likes of fiddlers from Flogging Molly.
The new album retains the vitality and genuine style of Yellowcard’s first record, One for the Kids, yet is clearly more polished and refined. They’ve overcome nauseating studio productions by listening to their fans and reflecting upon personal growth. “Believe” makes a tribute to the courageous sacrifices of the heroes of 9/11, while “Twentythree” relives the speed and vigor of One for the Kids. And “View from Heaven,” reflects the boy’s childhood upbringing within the South’s Bible Belt. At close, “Back Home” brings the tempo down beautifully, savoring memories created one more time.
Ocean Avenue is the best of both worlds of Yellowcard’s talent, from the classically punk One for the Kids, to the fineness of The Underdog EP. They’ll hit Detroit with the Vans Warped Tour on August 3, storming into the Silverdome.