July 26, 2007

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Yellowcard, Paper Walls
Capitol Records, 2007

For too long now the very thought of emo has conjured images of lonesome MySpace teenboys marooned in suburban sprawl examining random My Chemical Romance verses over the interweb and actually being able to tell one song from another, let alone My Chemical Romance from any of their peers. Palms have been greased of late, else there’s no rational explanation for the hushed reverence alternative writers have been paying to Good Charlotte, whose last album contained only one decent song, and they needed the help of Snidely Razornose or whoever from Avenged Sevenfold to get even that done. Yellowcard’s what-you-talkin-bout-Willis is a violin, and as of Paper Walls it’s still not being used effectively, ie all it accomplishes is providing newbie emo kids an easily identifiable trademark sound, a cheat to help them fit in with other Axe-gel-reeking emo-ites by appearing to know stuff about all those same-sounding bands.

These guys are aware that the great rock n roll Reebok is soon going to crush every clone that doesn’t evolve, so they experiment with some Shins vibe in the crazy-beautiful “Light Up the Sky” and the title track, then work a few other angles that might have furrowed some brows if singer Ryan Key wasn’t physically addicted to Taking Back Sunday karaoke. CEric W. Saeger