Band doesn’t go for the gold on new album

Ben Breier



Lights and Sounds

Released on Capitol Records

Stater rating (out of five): * *


When Yellowcard slowly began to rise in popularity in the world of pop-punk, it was for several reasons, but ultimately it was because the band’s electric violin allowed for a new dimension which hadn’t been previously used in the genre.

With the release of Lights and Sounds, Yellowcard is trying something a little different. The record opens up with “Three Flights Up,” a violin and piano soliloquy that plays out in a similar fashion to the piano introduction off of The Smashing Pumpkins’ Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. The emotional impact is surprisingly close, but the Pumpkins’ technique still reigns supreme to this day.

Upon progressing into the album, one thing is decidedly clear: The aforementioned electric violin is almost dead and gone, replaced with overdrive guitars that are pop-punk staples. On “City of Devils,” the band tinkers around on a tempo-based roller coaster that takes you from crescendos through decrescendos and back again.

“Rough Landing, Holly” desperately wants to be this album’s version of “Way Away” off of Ocean Avenue, and it succeeds in some aspects. It’s one of the few tracks on the record in which the electric violin in present, but it plays more of a supporting role in the distance than it has in previous efforts by the band.

Some of the tracks on this record are decidedly out of place. “Two Weeks From Twenty” sounds like an emo version of Ben Folds Five, complete with barbershop vocal accompaniment and properly placed falsettos.

One thing is certain: The Yellowcard you grew to know and love circa Ocean Avenue is no longer with us. The band has vastly matured when compared to past records, but it comes at a price – members forgot what made them occasionally catchy and addictive in the first place. It’s clearly the right direction for the band, but Yellowcard needs to further refine its new style before it can come up with something above average.

Contact assistant ALL editor Ben Breier at [email protected].