Yellowcard arrived on the scene riding in the back of the wave of pseudo-punk band that flooded the airwaves in recent years even though they sounded more like the Backstreet Boys than The Clash (think Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and other bands your little sister listens to). What set the band apart was they violinist in the group but you have to listen pretty close to here it and really isn’t a focal point of the band unlike the ones in Nickel Creek or Dave Matthews Band. On stage, he just comes arouses like a prop much like the dancing dude from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Now Yellowcard is back with a new album Lights and Sounds which starts earnestly enough with the instrumental Three Fights Up. Yeah it seems to rip off the opening to the Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but there are worst bands to steal from. Speaking of Yellowcard ripping off other bands, is it just me or does their new video, Lights and Sounds look exactly like the Coldplay Speed of Sound video? (Click on the song titles to compare.) But anyways. Sadly the instrumental is followed by the bland punk-pop songs that make the genre virtually unlistenable.
There are a few departures on the album from the power-pop formula like Two Weeks from Twenty which sounds like a Ben Folds song but was rejected for his album because it wasn’t as catchy and the lyrics weren’t as clever as songs that made the cut. The lyrics do tell the story of a boy who couldn’t find any work in Jersey so he went into the army and was killer ironically enough two weeks before his twentieth birthday. One must wonder if they wrote the song after watching Green Day’s Wake Me up When September Ends video. And with the line, “there's still no shame from the man to blame,” one can assume it was directed at George Bush. C’mon, Bush bashing was so 2004, where are the anti Tom DeLay songs?
Yellowcard did land a big coup by landing one of the Dixie Chicks to sing back-up on How I Go. That would be Natalie for those keeping track at home. But even her angelic voice can help out one of the worst singers making music today. When it comes down to it, it’s sad when the best song on the album is an instrumental one.
Song to Download - Three Fights of Stairs
Lights and Sounds gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.