Lights and Sounds is a bigger, broader album from their platinum debut album Ocean Avenue, that finds Yellowcard moving away from songs about breakups and onto more expansive themes of artifice, war, and adulthood. The guitars are tougher, the songs more intricate and encompass a wider spectrum of musical styles, which is evident the title track. Capitol. 2006.
Lights and Sounds
is a statement of intent: Yellowcard has grown up. Never "just kids" to begin with, the California-by-way-of-Florida quintet tackles thornier subjects than on 2003's Ocean Avenue
, while taking a more ambitious approach towards their already proficient musicianship. Sean Mackin's surprisingly well integrated violin playing has always been a big part of their sound, but now they've upped the ante. Their third album doesn't just open with a pretty piano-based instrumental ("Three Flights Up"), but leads to a 25-piece orchestra, along with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, on "How I Go." It may sound pretentious, but they make the unusual combination (pop-punk plus classical) work. On their second major label effort, Yellowcard comes across as serious to be sure--and this is nothing new--but not pretentious or silly. Affairs of the heart are as important as ever, but charismatic frontman Ryan Key has other matters on his mind. On "Two Weeks from Twenty," featuring Printz Board of the Black Eyed Peas, he sings, "We lost another one that we sent with a gun / They're gonna miss him he was two weeks from twenty." Then on "Words, Hands, Hearts," he laments, "The whole world is different now men have died." No longer bright-eyed teenagers, Yellowcard hasn't lost hope and their compassion remains boundless, but the times have changed, and so have they. --Kathleen C. Fennessy