Yellowcard Ocean Avenue

Making the move from Fueled By Ramen to Capitol, Yellowcard have produced what could arguably be considered the blueprint for the many pop punkers currently making that move. Without sacrificing one iota of what made them an interesting and compelling band in the past, Ocean Avenue delivers what long-time fans expect, without remaining stagnant in the often stifling genre of pop punk; something which is particularly true when you are dealing with a "gimmick” band. Yellowcard have gained much of their notoriety due to their unique instrumentation: the band includes a full-time violinist, Sean Mackin. Yet, it is the songs that have taken the band this far. Mackin’s contributions on this album range from subtle to explosive, as heard on the brilliant "Breathing,” allowing the band to expand their sound and songwriting without being stifled by their uniqueness. As an album, Ocean Avenue has vibrancy to it, courtesy of both stellar production and extremely strong songwriting. The band shines on tracks like the ripping "Only One” and the more patient "Empty Apartments,” the latter of which builds to an explosive climax. With the album closer "Back Home,” Yellowcard prove that they have succeeded in creating a commercial-sounding album with integrity, honesty, and most importantly, a sense of beauty. (Capitol)