Review Summary: The Yellow Team delivers a one-sided, predictable and standard album... that actually kicks ass!
In the world of punk rock, The Yellow Team
are perhaps somewhat out of place. With their sugar sweet lyrics and upbeat bubble gum pop-ish tunes inspired by blink-182
, Green Day
, Sum 41
, Avril Lavigne
and various other artists not normally associated with the punk scene, they definitely stand out. But the bands that they seem to draw the most influence from might just be High School Football Heroes
and The Young Hasselhoffs
; or so it sounds to me.
Yes, a grand dash of High School Football Heroes
, but with more focus on guitar harmonies, and a lack of a horn section. That leaves us with an upbeat and catchy melody made up of dueling guitars, a soft bass line and punchy drumming. All kept nicely company by the melodic and emotional vocals. All of which somewhat resembles The Young Hasselhoffs.
This little album here is consists of five songs clocking in just over thirteen and a half minute. And it sure is a refreshing thirteen and a half minute of music. The Yellow Team
isn't all about being studio perfect, nor about being important. They are generally just about having fun. And they accomplish it quite nicely.
Being that this album only contains five songs, I might as well go through each and every one of the songs. So, first of is "First Impression" (a fitting title even), and it's literally a punch in the face. It starts out very suddenly and upbeat, with raw and catchy guitars fighting the deep bass and the in-your-face sound of the drums. The drums simply needs some commenting here. I find that few things are more satisfying than a kick drum that has that perfect sound to it, and The Yellow Team
's kick drum definitely sounds sublime. It's way up there with Weezer
's kick drum. Fantastic. The cymbals also sound very nicely. Almost as nice as the ones on Elliot Smith
. And the way he bangs those drums, with all that energy... it's just really great, and sets the tone of the album within two seconds. The guitars progress very nicely and easy on the ears until about 0:20, when the listener gets introduced to a welcoming and tender voice, that somehow manages to sound a bit frail yet punchy at the same time. If you aren't bobbing your head by the time the chorus kicks in - you might wanna go see an ear doctor, because this is catchy sh
it. And the lyrics are just so lovely carefree and basically the opposite of esoteric. Anyone can identify with «I think about her everyday/When she tells me that it's all okay/And I dream about her every night/When she calls to say it's not alright».
The second song is called "The Tracks", and I'm not going to lie - it isn't as good. Even though there's more of those dueling guitars and emotional voice, the song just simply isn't as catchy or... good. It's a bit more generic and predictable. Also, it gives me early-era Sum 41 associations. I'll leave it for you to decide if that's a good or bad thing. While "First Impression" might be almost as standard and repetitive as this gets in the end, you never really complain about it, because "First Impression" just rocks so much. "The Tracks" is on the other hand just not as good as "First Impression". But it's a nice track, by all means. Just not astonishing. It's tight and fairly catchy. Quite enjoyable. Just not comparable to "First Impression" and the other two tracks I like the most on this album.
"Heather I Wanna Be on You" is one of those other two tracks. While it starts off like some melodic powerpop/alternative thing, the verse is this filthy rock'n'roll groove, climaxing into a dirty rock'n'roll chorus that sounds like a fusion of Lynyrd Skynyrd
and The Young Hasselhoffs
. And even though both the melody and (especially the) lyrics are filthy and dirty, this is - like "First Impression", catchy sh
The third track I really like on this album is the fourth track. With "Crystal Clear" - it's back to sugar sweet lyrics. «It's crystal clear that I'm writing all these songs for you/But I can't play guitar and I can't sing for anything/But I want you». Some will think this is adorable, some will puke. I'm one of those who thinks this is as adorable as when Elle Milano
claims «I'm not growing my hair for the sake of it, I'm doing it for you». But despite being sugar sweet in some areas, there's also an evident dirtiness on this track as well, with words like «thoughts of you are going through my head/and they're thoughts of you naked and in my bed». Once again - I can relate. If you take these lyrics and mix them with the inviting powerchords and upbeat drums you're surely used to by now, it's catchy sh
it. The instrumental throw down at the end makes this album sound even more like a sped-up version of The Young Hasselhoffs
's "All Those Years".
As you've probably understood, "Big, Juicy, And in Your Mouth" is one of the weaker songs, in my opinion. With its start-stop dynamics and loud guitars, it doesn't really follow the pattern exercised on the previous tracks, so that's a good thing. But it kind of proves that maybe being different isn't the same as being better, always? Again, don't get me wrong. This is a good track and so is "The Tracks". I want to make that clear. I enjoy both these songs, just not on the level I enjoy the other three songs. They simply don't catch my attention as much. But after listening to all of these tracks, one thing you'll probably notice is how warm and soft the overall sound of the album is. I cannot stress how clever their mixing is. I would go as far as claiming that the mixing is about 30% of this album's strength, if not even more. From start to finish, this is a very pleasant massage for the ears.
To conclude, The Yellow Team
's biggest weakness seems to be that they aren't that
unique. What they need to focus on for their next release is finding more identity. Will they succeed? The future will tell. Just pay attention to if people end up arguing about whether they are a good band or whether they are a punk band.
Their greatest strenght on the other hand is that while the may not be the most unique band on earth, they do what they do fairly well. If you still haven't really gotten what exactly that is; what they are doing - I will try to sum it up briefly at the end here. What The Yellow Team
basically sounds like is an emotional and intense punk band that uses a lot of powerchords and elementary stuff in a powerpop-ish matter, whilst being under the influence of doo-wop and bubble gum pop. What they essentially sound like is "All Those Years" by The Young Hasselhoffs
played at a quicker pace and with more focus on guitar harmonies. Their debut is what I'd refer to as a bit one-sided but surprisingly pleasant and enjoyable listen, and I'm looking forward to their next release.
Heather I Wanna Be on You