Yellowcard are known for being a solid pop-punk outfit. The five piece, who recently reformed after a 2 year hiatus, bring us their second record in as many years. Southern Air is a ten track, blisteringly open album filled with hooks, big choruses and that other thing Yellowcard are known for – Violin.

The record opens with ‘Awakening’, a brilliantly upbeat track which leads swiftly into the slightly stronger ‘Surface Of The Sun’. A song which quotes Star Wars in the opening lines, is lead with a booming chorus.

From there, we are treated to the previously released ‘Always Summer’, a song which is the definition of a summer anthem. Catchy, melodic, roaring guitars and a customary violin solo from Sean Mackin. A song which almost defines the album, as it is everything a Yellowcard fan can hope from their record. But, the album only builds from this.

What follows is a song co-written with the very talented Patrick Stump; ‘Here I Am Alive’ features Tay Jardine of We Are The In Crowd (who appears elsewhere later on). It is easy to see Stump’s lyrical input, but this is not to take away from Key’s lyrics throughout the album.

‘A Vicious Kind’ and ‘Telescope’ indeed showcase his own talents. The former is one of the loudest songs you’ll hear from this record, while ‘Telescope’ enjoys some input from Jardine, Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Cassadee Pope. ‘Telescope’ may be the best song on this album, one in tribute to Key’s late aunt.

But, the most powerful song is, without a doubt, ‘Ten’. Possibly Yellowcard’s most powerful song, possibly the most powerful song by a pop-punk act so far. While an acoustic track, it is the lyrics which make this song. Key simmers as he tells the story of what may be the most difficult thing for anyone to go through – the loss of a child:

I found out in the fall I’d been gone
On the road for a year
She said, "honey, I've got real bad news" and
Then there were just tears
And we would never be the same again
Since then I've often wondered
What you might have been like
How it would have felt to hold you,
Would you have my eyes?
Don't you think we would've been best friends?

It is unclear whether the child in question would have been Key’s, or that of someone else, but the haunting lyrics throughout this emotional ballad are some of the greatest that I’ve heard this year. This song is all about the lyrics. It is all about the story behind the music.

And yet, from such a harrowing and emotive track, we are instantly brought back to the summer that Yellowcard so thrive in. The album’s title track closes the record, and once again brings us the Yellowcard that we are so used to and have grown to love.

As an album, Southern Air all but disappoints. When Yellowcard initially went on hiatus, there were wonders if they’d ever return. Now, they’ve released two stand out records. Southern Air takes what the band learnt from When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and makes it all that little bit better. Simply put, Southern Air is a solid pop-punk album.

Surface Of The Sun
Always Summer
Here I Am Alive
Sleep In The Snow
A Vicious Kind
Rivertown Blues
Southern Air

Download: Ten, Here I Am Alive, Telescope, Vicious Kind

Released: Mon 13th Aug 2012