Yellowcard hit the bullseye!

Yellowcard have carved themselves out a niche which although draws from many influences, comes together to create a fresh and easily accessible sound. Following hot on the heels of their acclaimed debut album 'Ocean Avenue', second album 'Lights And Sounds' does sound a little more mature without losing the clean production, which whether a good or bad thing, makes them more commercial.

First song 'Three Flights Up' is a beautiful instrumental, which although I'm not usually a fan of I'm compelled to listen to, with it's lead of piano and strings accompanying. Awe inspiring. It's a track that could quite easily sit comfortably with CDs of many different genres to the listening pleasure of the owner. Yellowcard are never afraid to have non-metal instruments, but then they wouldn't would they? Not seeing as Sean Mackin plays the violin on most of the songs and sometimes even the mandolin, as well as many other musicians chipping in with strings.

As the deep riffs from Peter Mosley start up, album title song 'Lights And Sounds' snaps you back into the land of rock like a wet wriggly thing in the face. At times they have an Emo feel with the realisation that you don't have to scream out lyrics to rock and in fact sometimes it's in fact better if your listeners can understand your vocals. 'Down On My Head' is particularly catchy and it's sometimes a better task to recognise the different instruments in the background than any hopeless game of 'I-Spy' that I've ever had the misfortune to play.

'Sure Thing Falling' is another example of how well this is produced (but then it is mixed by the incredibly hard working Tom Lord-Alge whom seems to have mixed 90% of the albums in my record collection!). There is a moment when the violin has a solo and it sounds so much better than I'm sure that it should. Perhaps The Levellers should've thought about doing that instead of hanging around festivals playing for middle-aged hippies and unhygienic students. Just a thought.

Slow number 'City Of Angels' is a little Green Day crossed with a little Alkaline Trio. It's dark and thought provoking. "Flying along and I// Feel Like I don't belong and I// Can't tell right from the wrong..." sings Ryan Key. For me the highlight is 'Rough Landing, Holly' which is a fast, up tempo number with a screaming line of "Let her go!". It's truly great and sure to have you stamping your foot or nodding your head.

The greatly titled, 'Martin Sheen Or JFK' has large chunky riffs, where as 'Space Travel' has a simple drum beat from Longineu Parsons III and is a jolly little number. Final song 'Holly Wood Died' sounds a little like Alkaline Trio if they partied in Florida, sipping Pina-coladas whilst grave-robbing...

Yellowcard hit the bullseye with an album of diversity and pure musical and lyrical talent that is a pleasure to my ears. 'Lights And Sounds' could already be a contender for one of the best albums of the year and I couldn't give an Arctic Monkeys what anyone else says.