Sound — 10
My first impression of the new full-length from Yellowcard was, "wow." I was thoroughly impressed with the way that the new cd turned out. After 2003's "Ocean Avenue," quickly going platinum, I feared that Yellowcard would produce another "Ocean Avenue" and stay in that comfort zone that they have so created for themselves. However, I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least, that "Lights and Sounds" was nothing like "Ocean Avenue." The overall feel of the CD is much more mature, showing Yellowcard's versatility and growth as a band. The band is quickly gaining recognition as one of the better bands of our generation, and "Lights And Sounds" is just one step on the way to Yellowcard's greatness. The CD starts out with a lovely first track, entitled "Three Flights Up," which is an instrumental song heavily laden with piano and orchestration. The string arrangement was done by Sean Mackin, the violinist of the band. Beautiful job. The next track, title track, and first single from the album is "Lights And Sounds." Here we get the feel of the "new" Yellowcard, as the song shys away from their typical pop-punk roots and delves deeper into a more experimental sound. Don't get me wrong, the song is still just as catchy as any Yellowcard song, but it's different. The next song, "Down On My Head", is a wonderful tune. It starts off with a mellower sound, but, as you will find most songs on this CD do, builds up to an explosive chorus. "Sure Thing Falling" is the following track. Now we get to the more sensitive side of Yellowcard. The side of Yellowcard that we fell in love with on "Empty Apartment." Track 5 of the new album is entitled "City Of Devils". The wonderful arrangement of minor key to major resolutions makes this track unforgettable. Just as on "Ocean Avenue," the "sensitive" song is followed by a fast-paced track. On "Lights and Sounds" it is called "Rough Landing, Holly." The song starts out with a mind-numbing violin solo. At first listen, you are bound to love this song. "Two Weeks From Twenty," the next track, has a more "Lounge" feel to it. With lyrics relating to war, this song touches a sensitive subject with style and grace. The following song, "Waiting Game," gives us the emotion and power reminiscent of "Only One." The song features a beautifully constructed string arrangement. The next track, "Martin Sheen Or JFK," has an interesting title. Do not be fooled by this. This song features one of the best bridges on the entire album. The quick dropoff from loud to melancholy, with the slow build up to the chorus again is amazing. Thumbs up. The next two tracks are titled "Space Travel" and "Grey," respectively. Here we see the more experimental side of Yellowcard. We hear filtered guitars, the sound of muffled talking in the middle of the break in "Space Travel," and they pull it off well. "Words, Hands, Hearts" brings us a mature sound, which fits lyrics very well. One of my favorite tracks on the CD, "How I Go," is next. This song reminds us vaguely of "View From Heaven," with the accompanying female vocals. This song is entirely acoustic, and features beautiful melodies and musically stunning hooks. Finally, we get to "Holly Wood Died." This song fits the close of this CD very well, with, as mentioned before, explosive choruses and melodic harmonies. This song also brings back the theme introduced in "Three Flights Up," but this time it is with a full string section, drums, and guitar. The close of this CD is a memorable one.
Lyrics — 10
The overall impression of the lyrics on this CD is amazing. Yellowcard has strayed from solely writing songs about lost love and the past and has moved on to writing with a purpose. The lyrics suggest us to look to the future. With lyrics that talk of such sensitive subjects as war, you can be sure that the CD will have an impact. Another interesting thing about these lyrics is the recurring character of Holly Wood. She is first introduced in "Rough Landing, Holly" as an actress that stuns the world. We see this apparent with lines such as "She moves fast, takes control/And like a heart attack, I know I can't turn back." She also makes her appearance in the track "Holly Wood Died." Here we learn more of her desires. The desire to live a good life so she is remembered. Overall, "Lights And Sounds" produces much more emotions that vary in nature. I enjoyed the lyrical side of the album just as much as the musical.
Overall Impression — 10
The most impressive songs from this album would be, in no order whatsoever: "City Of Devils," "Waiting Game," "How I Go," and "Holly Wood Died." These songs present a new Yellowcard. A Yellowcard that has matured. I love most everything about this new album. I think that the two and a half year wait was well worth it. I bought this CD the day it came out, on January 24th, and have fallen in love with it. If this were stolen and/or lost, I would be back in the store purchasing a new copy. This album will forever remain in my CD collection as one of my favorites. Good work, Yellowcard.