Yells Fire - What We're Running (Cover Artwork)

Yells Fire

What We're Running (2007)

Bells On

Melody is something that I look for in music. From the rowdiest Rancid song to the softest Weezer song, it's the melody that makes me give a damn. Indiana pop-punk act Yells Fire (short for Yells Fire in a Crowded Theater) definitely has the melody bit down pact.

If we were judging everything on melody alone, the opening track "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" would be the crown jewel of the EP. It's a fast-paced song that truly resurrects that old-school ALL sound. Think along the lines of "Mass Nerder." The ALL comparison isn't unfounded considering that Descendents/ALL drummer Bill Stevenson was at the helm of the production of the EP.

"I Found Ya" is a slower track that sounds a bit Weezer-ish. The lyrics are an inside joke poking fun at a local loser. Surprisingly, the lyrics sound okay, even if the subject matter is alien and, as always, the melody of the song is killer.

"'Hey' Is for Whorses" and "Silver Bullet in My Heine" are both rockin' tracks that recall even the works of Lagwagon and other golden-era Fat Wreck Chords bands. "Silver Bullet in My Heine" is particularly heavy (for Yells Fire) and stands out on the album. The guitar work is excellent as well.

The EP is actually a Japanese re-release of the original What We're Running that was released back when the band was called McSmokerson. The Japanese version contains a bonus track not found on the stateside release, "Tootles to the World." "Tootles" is a great track that is classic melodic Yells Fire / McSmokerson. The production is noticeably different that that of the rest of the EP, but it still rocks nevertheless. (The hidden track at the end is well worth waiting the additional seven minutes.)

Pop-punk or melodic hardcore, call it what you will, but there's no denying that it's catchy. Good luck finding any older McSmokerson records, but What We're Running is rocking enough to warrant a full-length from Yells Fire. Let's just hope they can hunker down and squeeze one out.