Punk-pop band Yellowcard have proved they have matured musically since their 2003 double platinum release Ocean Avenue. They forgo break-up songs in their latest album Lights and Sounds to explore themes such as war and stardom. The album gets off to an odd start with Three Flights Up - a gentle piano and violin instrumental that softly perks up the ears - before launching into the explosive title track Lights and Sounds, which features relentless drumming and robust guitar sounds. Punk-rock tunes Sure Thing Falling, Rough Landing, Holly and Martin Sheen or JFK are mediocre, but there are a few surprises which liven up the CD. Two Weeks from Twenty is a sad, thought-provoking track that tells the fictional story about a US soldier who is killed in war two weeks before his 20th birthday. It's accompanied by beautiful jazz guitar strains and horn solos, along with lead singer Ryan Key's airy vocals. How I Go is a grandiose piece featuring a 25-piece orchestra conducted by Yellowcard guitarist-violinist Sean Mackin, and a vocal duet by Key and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. Lights and Sounds isn't a ground-breaking album, but shows promising progress by the band.