Punk pop messiness attempting to be punk rock
I want to say this record is punk rock, but I know I'd be wrong. Well, to be more accurate, some of the album is punk rock in the same way that a lot of Green Day is punk. To be fair, 'Where we Stand' isn't a bad album - in fact, it's quite listenable for the most part - but, it feels like they're trying to fit too many ideas onto one album. Yellowcard somehow manage to make three minutes sound much longer, almost as if they haven't quite developed their ideas properly.
Take 'Uphill Both Ways', a song with a strong start that descends into semi-chaos. A sinister riff leads onto what is a relatively subdued verse - it makes a nice change from the high energy of the previous songs. Unfortunately, the effect is ruined when the band keeps changing so continuously between frenetic choruses and the subdued verses, either one or the other but not both. And it's not the only one, either; the second song on the album 'Time Will Tell' finds some cool violin and guitar being rudely interrupted by the same bouncy guitars. It sounds like Blink 182 wrestling with New Found Glory and neither band winning - it gets tiresome after a while.
Of course, not all the songs are like that. The first song of the album 'Lessons Learned' is something of a pop punk aural assault. It's one of the better songs on the album, but even that finds itself slowing down to allow for a violin riff - opinion was always divided over whether the violin actually contributed anything, and I can see why it's debatable if it does. 'Kids' follows the Sum 41 path to pop punk whilst trying to lay a few bricks of seriousness at the same time, with vocals at times sounding suspiciously like Derek Whibley. That doesn't mean it's bad though, far from it. It's something the band know how to do well.
'Sorry Try Again' proves that the faster, more consistent songs on 'Where We Stand' are the better ones. Itís a dark, chaotic punk tune - the closest to proper punk Yellowcard get - that throws itself at you for the full minute 45. It's the sort of song that would get a mosh pit moving involuntarily.
However, the strangest thing of all is the hidden track. It features a bloke firstly breathing down a phone, then going all Dick Dastardly on us and going how he can't understand why the band aren't on the David Letterman show. For the first listen, it's quite funny but quickly loses that shine. Whether it's an answermachine message or what, I don't know, but it's certainly odd.
'Where We Stand' isn't the most exciting or breathtaking album ever made, but it's fun and full of energy. Despite the messiness of songs like 'Time Will Tell', the album is quite listenable. However, it could've been better if they'd just spent a bit more time on it.