Yellow Second - Altitude (Cover Artwork)

Yellow Second

Altitude (2005)


Yellow Second, despite the fact that they already have two releases under their belts, seem to be in the growing pains portion of their life as a band. While they may be maturing, they are still awkward and down right ugly at times.

Yellow Second play a very radio-friendly brand of power pop. There are some soft acoustic numbers, some up-tempo pop, and some alternative rockers all jammed in here, but the band just doesn't seem to get any of them completely right.

The album opens with "Silhouette," a song whose first twenty seconds sounds promising with some Death Cab For Cutie-styled acoustic progressions before singer Scott Kerr steps in. Kerr's voice is a strange forced whisper that sounds like he has just been punched in the gut but keeps on trying to speak anyway. It does more to distract the listener than to add to the music.

After "Silhouette," the next five songs sound like Yellow Second took all the things that make (or made) bands like Jets to Brazil, the Promise Ring, or Duvall great and then watered them down for more mainstream consumption. Maybe it is the super-slick production that does this or maybe it is still Kerr's "I sound like I am in pain" moans.

The band breaks up Altitude with "Some Other Way," a country-influenced ballad complete with brushes on the drums and slide guitar. After that, they simply returns to their clumsy power pop songs for the remainder of the album.

Now, like I said, Yellow Second are going through growing pains. That means there are some appealing elements here. Guitarist Josh Hemingway's backing vocals recall Matt Sharp and he often seems to improve the tone of Scott Kerr's own delivery by harmonizing or throwing in some nice "ba ba bas" or "da na nas," like on "Gravity Boots." Also, there are plenty of decent hooks and appealing riffs on the album; Yellow Second just chooses to sandwich them between mediocre radio-rock chops.