LIGHTS AND SOUNDS

-- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET


Yellowcard
Lights and Sounds
(Capitol/EMI)

If we had told you three years ago that Yellowcard -- a pop-punk band with a violin player -- were about to be the Next Big Thing, you would have sent us to rehab.

Now, what if we told you that after becoming the Next Big Thing by selling a jillion copies of their major-label debut Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard were going to turn into a mainstream pop-rock band? Yep, it's true.

On the slower, mellow and more mature Lights and Sounds, the California-via-Florida outfit's fourth full-length, they grow up, leave the Vans Warped tour behind and head for the concert hall. Three Flights Up opens the show with a sweeping classical overture. Two Weeks From Twenty channels Ben Folds with its bouncy pop gait and sweet melody.

City of Devils is a dark, moody waltz. Waiting Game breaks out the orchestra. Space Travel balances its crushed gravel guitar riff with sombre verses and sweet strings. How I Go is a cell-phone waving ballad with guest vocals by -- no fooling -- Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. OK, tunes like the title cut and Rough Landing, Holly still rock like old times.

But nearly all of these 14 songs come with the sort of emotional control and ambitious songcraft that turns Next Big Things into full-fledged arena heroes.

Don't say we didn't tell you.

Track Listing:

1. Three Flights Up
2. Lights And Sounds
3. Down On My Head
4. Sure Thing Falling
5. City Of Devils
6. Rough Landing, Holly
7. Two Weeks From Twenty
8. Waiting Game
9. Martin Sheen Or JFK
10. Space Travel
11. Grey
12. Words, Hands, Hearts
13. How I Go
14. Holly Wood Died


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