Yellowcard - Lights and Sounds (Cover Artwork)


Lights and Sounds (2006)


For many of you, Yellowcard are nothing more than a horribly boring pop-punk band who have a violinist to make them seem a lot more original than they actually are. Personally, I think this is a little unfair. Their last full-length, Ocean Avenue, had some damn catchy moments on it, most seemingly created around the violin. I found it quite refreshing, although the album as a whole didn't really strike a chord with me. It got filed under my "only go nuts to if drunk in a nightclub and having a smily happy time already" section. In my head. Ahem.

With the arrival of Lights and Sounds, however, the boys from sunny Florida seem to have pulled a Less Than Jake on us and dramatically reduced the string content. And what does that leave us with? You guessed it: A horribly boring pop-punk band. To put it bluntly, I found it incredibly hard to get all the way through this, even as background music. It was one of those "thank Jebus that one's over. How long's the next track? A WHOLE FOUR MINUTES?!?!? Fuuuuuuuuuck..." listening seshes. Not like it matters how long a song is, but if a band manage to make 4 minutes last like a lifetime, something isn't quite right. Pop needs to be catchy and fun. Simple as. This is neither. When the violin does appear, it only serves to try to create a sad feeling. You know, the usual reason bands like to call on the good ol' fiddle. Guys, you wanted to make this album sound different from the last. That's fine. New Found Glory manage it every time. But they stick with what they're best at.

Speaking of NFG, the title track, following a piano and violin-based instrumental (which is actually my favourite song on here... oh dear) starts with some power chords reminiscent of "Hit or Miss," but the whole thing falls slightly short of the mark. As it happens, that's the peak of the album. Track after track passes by. Nothing grabs the listener. You know what that spells folks? U-N-I-N-S-P-I-R-I-N-G. The choruses aren't awful, they just aren't bouncy or instantly memorable. They're slow and pseudo-emotional. I pity fans that pay good money to see the 'card on the road to have a good time. "City of Devils" or "Two Weeks from Twenty" (which deals with the story of a lad joining the army through having no other option and getting killed in the Iraq war) are two miserable little numbers I would never ever want to listen to again, especially not in a live setting. It's not all doom and gloom, though. The intro riff to "Sure Thing Falling" is quite enjoyable, but for some reason obscure to me, the band decides to slow the song right down straight after and I'm left thinking of what could have been.

With Lights and Sounds, Yellowcard have taken a rather large step in the wrong direction and narrowly avoid losing their way altogether. If you're a fan of the band, you might get used to it eventually, but what do I know? If you weren't already a fan of this band, I really can't see that changing any time soon.

I would however like to thank Yellowcard for donating a portion of the record sales to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.