Review of Yellowcard’s New Album “Lift A Sail”

YELLOWCARD’s seventh and latest album LIFT A SAIL was created by the band with one objection: to make an album that surpassed everything they’ve done in the past. The vision was to have both the guitar and drum tracks hit harder, contain lyrical quality that bore deeper than before, and pursue chorus arrangements that attained new heights that the band feels they’ve only hinted in the past. Yellowcard vocalist Ryan Key strongly believes that he and his band mates Ryan Mendez (Guitarist), Sean Mackin (Violinist), John Portman (Bassist), and guest drummer Nate Young (ANBERLIN) have succeeded in all categories. “We really feel like we got where we wanted to be, and made a proper rock ‘n’ roll record”, Key previously stated proudly. The album was recorded with longtime producer Neal Avron (LINKIN PARK, FALLOUT BOY, DISTURBED, SWITCHFOOT, WEEZER, etc.) in his studio, The Casita, located in Los Angeles. Lift A Sail is Yellowcard’s first album done for Razor & Tie, and has proved to be successful thus far gaining a current spot in BILLBOARD’s TOP ROCK ALBUMS CHART at #7 since it’s release. The album can be described as their most dynamic work consisting of massive rock anthems and captivating ballads created with Mackin’s complex violin and string arrangements. Nate Young, who recorded his drum tracks at East West Studio set to enhance tracks in the album such as Transmission Home by adding an extra hard rock kick to the track that fits perfectly with Mendez’s intensifying guitar sound.


Lift A Sail  immediately draws the audience in with it’s graceful string arranged introduction Convocation, superbly setting an overall tone for the album. Smoothly transitioned, Transmission Home commences with powerful percussion, bass, and guitar tracks that achieve a great straight rock ‘n’ roll sound as the song expresses one’s need to make it home. Crash The Gates begins similarly strong with knocking percussion and creative spirit as it’s previous track, but also allows itself to flow uniquely with it’s own anthemic sound. Fast paced throughout, Make Me So incites a higher energetic feeling to the audience with rhythmic synthesizers mixed into the track. Make Me So would definitely be a song that would compel the crowd to jump furiously during a live performance. One Bedroom so far has been one of many fan favorites throughout the album. With touching love-letter style lyrics, the song expresses Key’s love toward his wife, Alyona Alekhina who suffered a spinal cord injury back in 2012 leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. The album standout was written about the apartment that the couple shared in Denver during the first part of her rehabilitation. “It was just the two of us most of the time and that apartment seemed to be the only safe place on Earth for us both,” Key remembers, “We went through so much, we shared so much there. So the song is sort of a love letter…letting her know what she means to me”. One Bedroom sets itself as a flawless unique track with acoustic guitars that gradually lead into to an anthemic power ballad that just surrounds the audience with an amazing atmosphere. Transitioning beautifully from One Bedroom, Fragile & Dear presents more rhythmic synthesizers, along with powerful and higher technical drum arrangements. Introducing stronger captivating violin and string tracks, the song continues to enhance the albums overall tone.

Further proposing impressive technical percussion arrangements, Illuminate starts off immediately glimmering as an anthem. What really makes this track stand out on it’s own is the flawless vocal performance of Key rocking his falsetto in the songs chorus. The track’s production glues together without mistake, and ends elegantly with soft vocals, panning strings, and amazing piano clarity. Madrid continues to relate to Key and his wife’s story together, expressing the place where they first met each other. The mix consists of both clean guitar and a heartwarming vocal performance that gives the audience a short bluesy ballad to enjoy. ‘The Deepest Well features guest vocalist Matty Mullins (MEMPHIS MAY FIRE) and the track possesses a very captivating energy and attitude that many listeners will discover themselves headbanging, and singing along from beginning to end. Containing a highly compelling chorus, this song proves itself to be one of the strongest anthems in the album. The Deepest Well is then followed by an equally marvelous anthem, the album’s title song, Lift A Sail, which can strongly be credited as one of the most outstanding, beautiful, and emotional songs that Yellowcard has ever created. With graceful lyrics, Lift A Sail truly reflects both the inspiring determination of Key’s wife, and Yellowcard’s increasingly fearless approach to making music. “It’s the one song that really encompasses this whole experience,” Key stated, looking back on everything that he, his family, and band mates have been through over the past year. “It’s saying, we’re ready for anything now.”


 MSK immediately feels like a sequel to the earlier album track One Bedroom, accommodating similar wonderful lyrics that relate strongly to KEY’s love towards his wife. MSK exquisitely stands out, with a sparse arrangement that sets Key’s emotive vocals against a backdrop of Mackins’ swirling violin and atmospheric keys along with ambient electronics programmed by Young. “It’s one of the few YELLOWCARD tracks ever to feature no guitars or drums at all. It’s a bold leap for us,” Key declared. Immediately changing the atmosphere, My Mountain introduces once again fierce guitar tracks joined with hard thumping percussion. The song’s lyrical inspiration comes from another important person in Key’s life, his grandfather, a poet who passed away earlier this year, and who Yellowcard fans know as the voice of Dear Bobbie from 2007 album Paper Walls. His dying wish was to have his ashes scattered on a family property that resided in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, next to one of his daughters, Key’s aunt, who passed away two years earlier. “As my grandfather was passing, in hospice, he kept asking my mom if he was on the mountain yet. And my mom kept saying, ‘You’ll be there soon.’” Key’s lyrics to My Mountain imagine his grandfather looking out from his final resting place; “I have found my mountain/I can be with her/When I finally came across/I recovered all I lost.” Being the final track of the album , California returns to simplicity consisting of alluring piano performance, touching vocals, and full sounded string arrangements by Mackin ending the album with the same graceful tone that was early set by Convocation. “We really changed lanes, I think,” Key explained in the past. “It’s still a massive rock record, but there were a lot of choices made while we were writing the songs that were new for us. We continued to challenge ourselves throughout the writing and recording process.” Lift A Sail is definitely a must hear for not only Yellowcard fans, but to any creative spirits out there. The album is currently available on ITUNES, GOOGLE, AMAZON, and YELLOWCARD’s merch site. YELLOWCARD is currently on an national tour with MEMPHIS MAY FIRE & EMAROSA, which has recently kicked off on October 16, 2014 in Las Vegas.


10/16 Las Vegas. NV – House of Blues

10/17 San Diego, CA – The North Park Theatre

10/18 Anaheim, CA – House of Blues

10/19 Tempe, AZ – The Marquee Theatre

10/21 Dallas, TX – House of Blues

10/22 San Antonio, TX – Backstage Live

10/23 Houston, TX – House of Blues

10/25 Orlando, FL – Hardrock Live

10/26 Tampa, FL – The Ritz Ybor

10/28 Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade

10/29 Charlotte, NC – Amo’s Southend

10/30 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage

11/2 New York, NY – Best Buy Theatre

11/3 Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory

11/4 Boston, MA – House of Blues

11/6 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre

11/7 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot

11/8 Chicago, IL – Concord Music Hall

11/9 Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights

11/11 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall

11/12 Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex

11/14 Reno, NV – Knitting Factory Concert Hall

11/15 Los Angeles, CA – Club Nokia

11/16 San Francisco, CA – The Regency Ballroom

Soundcheck411 Rating: 9/10

Review by: Rene Garcia