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EP Review: Yellowcard “Childhood Eyes”

Pop punk pioneers Yellowcard prove that age is just a number. In the second phase of their accomplished career, the band have a new label, a new outlook, and a new EP, and are ready to pick back up where they left off. Now signed to Equal Vision Records, their newest EP Childhood Eyes is out today. Marking the band’s first new material since their self-titled album in 2016, the five-track EP serves as a glimpse into what life has had in store, in a vulnerable and riveting set of hard-hitting songs. 

Yellowcard is comprised of Ryan Key (vocals, guitar), Sean Mackin (violin), Ryan Mendez (guitar), and Josh Portman (bass), its current iteration changing from the group’s original 1997 formation. Reuniting in 2022 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their iconic breakthrough album Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard felt a creative shift during their reunion and soon found themselves penning new material together for the first time since their 2016 disbanding. 

Writing and recording these new tracks allowed the band to hone and embellish their established sound that propelled them through their discography of ten studio albums, yet simultaneously refocused them and allowed them to venture into new territory. Their revitalized sound and renewed sense of excitement is evident in each new track, flourishing with the stamina and inspiration of a seasoned band reborn. 

The five songs that make up Childhood Eyes captures the spirit of their 2007 hit album Paper Walls without hitting copy and paste. The forceful yet contemplative nature to tracks “Hiding in the Light” and “Honest From The Jump” feels like an amplified and rejuvenated version of their past selves. With nods to content creation and recovery, it’s those moments of mentioned modernity that reminds you that this is in fact new material. 

“Childhood Eyes” asserts itself as the EP’s focal track, touching on addiction, trauma, and the loss of innocence. Tapping into the concept of physiological inner child work and facing demons, there’s a reverse mindset that allows the track to contemplate this wake up call in the form of a question— “Am I the only one watching with childhood eyes? Similar to listening to a renewed version of the beloved band, there’s a switch in perception by listening to these songs through an ear that parallels childhood versus adulthood. 

Featuring great collaborations from two lauded acts— Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil and Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional— Yellowcard find an added boost with the support of these artists, while still firmly holding their own ground. The supercharged speed of intro track and Fuentes collaboration, “Three Minutes More” sets the project soaring in a roar of double-time percussion and domineering power chords. Rehashing the demise of a relationship and the betrayal felt from stinging lies, the track acts as an introduction to the themes covered in subsequent songs. Carrabba’s influence is prominent in closing track “The Places We’ll Go,” bringing the pace down from its boiling point in earlier offerings, to a tender and poignant acoustic melody that ties up loose ends with a weathered, yet optimistic focus. 

With both powerful and sentimental anthems, each new song revels in emotional clarity and a sense of wide-eyed wonder. This matured version of Yellowcard is brimming with new life experiences and lessons learned, all without losing their jovial essence. The group have certainly aged well in their time apart; these five songs serve as a reminder of their succinct bond and fluid musical chemistry. Childhood Eyes is the testament of a band reconnecting and finding its footing after years apart and the reminder that it is never too late.

Childhood Eyes is out everywhere now via Equal Vision Records. You can find tickets to Yellowcard’s ongoing national tour here. Limited edition physical copies of the EP can be purchased here. 

Yellowcard Online: Website Facebook | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | TikTok | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music 

About Emma Furrier

Boston-based music writer and reviewer. Passionate about rock and roll, vinyl collecting, and any dog I’ve ever met.

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