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YELLOWCARD - LIGHTS AND SOUNDS - EMI
Record Rating: ***

Yellowcard - Lights and Sounds - EMI The formula is simple enough: equal parts teenage humor and brattiness combined with infectious guitar hooks that just beg to be cranked up on the stereo. Since Blink 182 and Green Day, there have been an infinite number of bands like that singing about girls and break-ups that have come and gone.

These boys from Florida claim to be different: for one they have Sean Mackin, a classically trained violinist. The follow up to Ocean Avenue their platinum selling debut, Lights and Sounds finds the Yellowcard moving away from songs about love and girlfriend breakups, and onto more expansive themes thatís more likely to be found on a Green Day record.

Recently departed guitarist Ben Harper is still the main gunslinger on most of the albums fourteen songs, as the opener the full blown instrumental Three Flights Up shows. The record does pick up from there. Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks along with a 25-piece orchestra gets the pace going with How I Go, while vocalist Ryan Key guides a robust melody on teenage friendly tracks like City Of Devils and Waiting Game.

If youíre expecting something like the first album, youíll be disappointed to find nothing like that here. The band has changed its sound, but instead of becoming more original, the band tries to emulate top 40 punk rock mainstays, which doesnít work well for them. Their angst filled songs like Waiting Game show as much maturity and complexity as a baboon getting all agitated on an Animal Planet programme. The verdict, get their first album instead. This effort should be filled under amongst the other mediocre at best acts that are trying to ride on the wave of success of Green Day and their American Idiot.

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