The Designer’s Drugs: Moving Units/Yellowcard

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Moving Units – Tension War

Anno: 2011

Moving Units is at its best with the basslines turned up, and fortunately this quick burst of songs delivers some of the low end that was sorely missing from the band’s previous album, Hexes for Exes.  The highlight of this EP is “Until She Says,” a slithering bass and piano single that easily qualifies as one of Moving Units’ best tunes.  On this song’s coattails is a quite slick remix which reimagines the song as though created by a Sega Game Gear.  The collection’s other standout is “Paris, New Mexico,” which is a darker yet faster rush of bass.

The songs that rely more on synths are good, but not as good.  “Pink Redemption” is a disco remake of a song from Hexes, and both in its music and its excessive falsetto the song feels like a weak imitation.  Similarly, “Liquid X” feels like it could pass as a lesser song from Hexes.

The sum total is about half and half.  If one is inclined towards bass-funk driven dance music, there are a few tracks here which definitely merit a listen.  If not, this is going to come off to the listener as severe posturing by a group of electro-aristocrats.

Medium: Album

Stimulus: Yellowcard – When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes

Anno: 2011

The title of this album is very appropriate.  Yellowcard’s latest release is the usual pretty sounding peppy tragedy punk with an occasional infusion of strings to further accent the sense of gravity and melodrama.  It’s a series of very well crafted pop songs destined for radio play and MTV teen dramas, and if this was the intent then it succeeded.  Unfortunately, this also means that the lyrics have a suffocating sense of romanticism which will probably turn off anyone who has dated more than one person.

“For You, and Your Denial” is the album’s peak, with all that stringy gravity running in full force alongside high tempos and stiff guitars.  But beyond this song, and the almost country pop of “Hang You Up,” everything else kind of blends together.  Nothing’s bad as technique goes, but there’s only so much teenage melodrama that can congeal in one place before it all becomes redundant.  Yellowcard passed that threshold.

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