How old are you? Do you pay bills yet? Do you have a job? Does Barry Kent still beat you up at school? Do any of your teachers pick on you? Most important of all, have you ever moved house? I only ask, because whether or not you’ll have any time whatsoever for Yellowcard’s new single 'Way Away' depends largely on how you answer those questions.
Musically the song is an almost perfect pop-punk gem. Rumbling bass and drums tumble over each other during the verses, crashing face first into blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em bridges, and then guitar-charged choruses bite and bash the eardrums without sacrificing tunefulness or intensity. To paraphrase Thom Yorke, everything’s in its right place.
There is, however, one large problem, and it comes around fifteen seconds into the song when vocalist Ryan Key lets rip with his plaintive yelp. Depending on how you answered the questions at the beginning, you’re either in seventh heaven or fits of giggles. See, the guy’s singing about moving away from home. Away from a town he doesn’t like and people he doesn’t seem to fit in with. And all of it is delivered with the gut-wrenching sincerity you’d usually keep in reserve until you had some important news to break to someone, like, I dunno, “mate, your wife’s left you”, “sir, your mother has passed away”, or “mum, dad, I’m gay.”
Don’t get me wrong; Yellowcard earn some extra bows for their passion, musical chops, and their ability to make a violin sound not-out-of-place on a punk record. But to anyone who lives away from ma and pa, this all sounds a little touched. There’s a lot to like here, and I’m hoping Key and his band mates haven’t blown their wad just yet. So, here’s hoping that the move goes well, the new flat turns out great, that they have a blast in the new town, and tell us all about it on their next record.
Cheer up, kids. You still have council tax to look forward to.
6Nick Cowen's Score