New Music Review: Yellowcard, Hozier and Sixx AM

Yellowcard performing.

A big week for new releases. Well established bands like Yellowcard and Sixx AM added to their catalogs while newcomer Hozier dropped a stellar debut album. Read below as I give my thoughts on the three new albums. As always if there were any albums I missed, let me know in the comments below.

Yellowcard – Lift a Sail

Admittedly, I haven’t listened to Yellowcard since Ocean Avenue, just a personal preference, the band never really moved the needle that much for me. That said, they’ve made themselves a fine career following that album and recently released Lift a Sail. The first song (following a short intro) is “Transmission Home,” a mid-tempo rocker that could easily be one of A Day To Remember’s slower, lighter songs. I love the booming drums on the track (and throughout the album) too, even if former (longtime) drummer LP isn’t in the band anymore. Sean Mackin’s string work has always stood out to me in Yellowcard songs, and somehow it feels more pronounced on this album. Mackin’s work on “MSK” sounds almost identical to “Believe” off of Ocean Avenue and jumped out immediately. Whether that was intentional or not, “MSK” is one of the highlights on the album for me. Ultimately it feels like the band is shifting to a more mature sound and I enjoy it. I went into Lift a Sail with no real expectations, but the album has proven to be one that will stick around with me for a while.

Hozier – Hozier

Hozier is going to be huge and there’s no way to get around that. I decided to listen on a whim after seeing his name thrown around on the internet and was blown away. The semi-haunting “Take Me to Church” opens the album and is a showcase for Hozier’s voice, which is spectacular. “Jackie and Wilson” is a phenomenal pop track, while “It Will Come Back” with its bluesy tone may be my favorite on the entire album.  The young English songwriter hit a home run on his first album, expect to see and hear a lot more from him over the next few months.

Sixx AM – Modern Vintage

I enjoy Motley Crue, and Nikki Sixx seems to be the most put together of the Crue in terms of solo success, so I put on Modern Vintage to get a feel of where Sixx is at musically these days. The album did nothing for me except make me want to not listen to it ever again. Modern Vintage is a mixture of radio rock (“Stars”), pop (“Drive”) and some weird country-pop diddy (“Before It’s Over”). The album is too inconsistent, and had it picked one lane and stayed there it’d be better, but instead we’re stuck with this.

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A certified personal trainer and graduate of Northwestern University (M.A. in Sport Adminstration), Steve is resident fitness expert and music snob of JustAGuy. In addition to fitness and music, Steve also enjoys sports. Feel free to trash talk him at

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