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Capital Lights - This is An Outrage! Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7.5
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 7
Production 7.25
Creativity 5
Lasting Value 6.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Final Verdict: 71%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.17
Musicianship 8.58
Lyrics 8.92
Production 8.08
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 7.42
Reviewer Tilt 9
Average: 82%

Capital Lights - This is An Outrage!

Reviewed by: Matthew Tsai (07/09/08)
Capital Lights - This is An Outrage!
Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
Release Date: July 8, 2008


Tooth and Nail has signed some just downright awful bands lately (come on... Secret & Whisper, Since October?) and time will tell if Capital Lights will join that list. But for now, the band will maintain a decent status with This Is An Outrage!, which will quickly be added to the growing list of summer pop-punk albums.

Now, it should be noted that I almost always take 9 to 10 listens to fully grasp any band's sound, but This Is An Outrage! is not that kind of album, even for me. The opening chord of each song will easily give you the key necessary to predict exactly how the rest of the song goes. The album is twelve straight tracks of unabashed pop-punk; there are no secrets here. It should also be noted that with the band's Tooth and Nail debut, they have exchanged their former, almost indie pop-punk sound (as present on the Revival of the Fittest EP back when they were afterEight) for a blatantly mainstream one. To specify, they got [i]synthed[i]! Is it progression if a pop-punk band goes mainstream? I’m undecided; you be the judge. And as a side note, the album art is indeed an excellent piece of work. Though jarring to the eyes at first, it’s the kind of art that will be remembered several years down the road.

The album embarks with the ultra-catchy single, “Outrage.” The synths are immediately present (even before the signature power chords), which will leave listeners already tired of the blossoming electronic scene cringing. The synths actually work very well in this song though and the chorus will successfully get on your nerves (which is necessary for this kind of band). The track immediately follows up with “Worth As Much As A Counterfeit Dollar,” one of the two tracks re-recorded from the EP (the other being “The Night Of Your Life Is When You'll Die”). Both are standout tracks of the album and showcase the bands’ former curious harmonic melodies, which was what helped them stand apart from the rest of the scene at the time. Several tracks down, “Remember the Day” is probably the most engaging “new” song and sounds like it would fit perfectly on any Jimmy Eat World album.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album mostly blends with what bands like Forever the Sickest Kids are currently doing. Their newly polished sound also draws plenty of comparisons with labelmates Run Kid Run, which in my case, served as a bit of a turn-off. The curious harmonic melodies are not completely gone (“Out of Control,” “Let the Little Lady Talk”), but are largely stifled. Not that this is necessarily bad, but it does make many tracks seem rather bland, and as with almost every pop-punk record in history, just plain boring by the time you get to the end of the disc. This is not to say that individually, the songs are not still fun to groove to on those summer days This Is An Outrage! is especially crafted to brighten.

Lyrically, the band captures mostly motivational themes; the kind of lyrics that they hope will move you to make a difference in the world. Bland? Maybe... but far better than lyrics about love and relationships and the diction used will keep the lyrics fresh and enjoyable. Besides, who can argue with a line like, “Can I open with a question? / Not a sugar coated lesson / Less than 20 minutes later when / I'm catching dirty looks from the ones who won't admit when they're wrong / Scaring all the girls just by repeating the name of this song” or “Throw the dirt and leave the path feet covered up so we don’t know your there / Hold your breath until your heart stops beating so fast / You’re giving orders from the back seat while the passengers are all unaware / Hold your breath until your heart stops beating so fast”? While the band is either a “Christian band” or “Christians in a band,” spiritual references are minimal, only showing up flagrantly in “Return” and otherwise exist as metaphors.

In the end, the main letdown of the album is the fact that this band had an ample amount of potential to write songs that could very well make them the next decent pop-punk hit, but instead are writing songs that prompt people to categorize them as merely “generic.” Whether this is because of the influence of the label or not is not really that big of a deal. What is important, however, is that Capital Lights swim themselves out of this monotonous sea of electro-pop before they make another album. In the meantime, fans will still have fun with This Is An Outrage!

Recommended if You LikeRun Kid Run, Forever the Sickest Kids, pure diabetic sugar-coated pop punk

myspace.com/capitallights
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24.
05:49 AM on 07/11/08
#2
cereal4life
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I don't think adding a synth to the mix makes a band "mainstream". While it is the latest craze in pop-punk and I don't really like it, a pop-punk band can add a synth in and still stay true to who they are; it doesn't equate to selling out to the mainstream.

And I enjoyed the Secret and Whisper debut! Sure it's a Saosin soundalike and not very original but it's a good listen. You're right though, Tooth and Nail have made some pretty average signings of late. Apart from Ivoryline and Secret and Whisper, I haven't been all too impressed!
09:47 AM on 07/11/08
#3
Matthew Tsai
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yeah, sorry that was unclear. they didn't go mainstream because they added a synth, but their overall sound got much more mainstream than their EP.

i thought the looming saosin rip-off was too much to even stomach SAW's sound.
09:52 AM on 07/11/08
#4
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I like this album a lot. Like, more than any other pop-punk release this summer truthfully.

I really like "Let The Little Lady Talk" and even "Miles Away."
07:18 PM on 07/11/08
#5
hxchairstylist
Hair on Mars
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You're out of your mind if you think S&W is a worthless tooth and nail signing. Wow. Nice try though.

I'm interested in hearing this Capital Lights record though. I've been waiting to hear anything off of it for a few months now, and have kept myself from listening until it came out.
07:20 PM on 07/11/08
#6
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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It's a bit too poppy for my tastes, but that first single is a jam.
10:24 PM on 07/11/08
#7
Matthew Tsai
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You're out of your mind if you think S&W is a worthless tooth and nail signing. Wow. Nice try though.

I'm interested in hearing this Capital Lights record though. I've been waiting to hear anything off of it for a few months now, and have kept myself from listening until it came out.

i'll admit that SAW has a couple songs off that record that are fun to just sing and rock to. in the end though, they just plain rip off saosin. it's evident in both the vocals and the little drum attacks AND the guitars.

i definitely recommend buying Capital Lights, just for some summer pop-punk.
08:28 PM on 07/13/08
#8
Jairbear
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I was just about to pick up Secret and Whispers album because I heard good things...then I read this..now I don't know what to do. Still picking it up, but it's good to hear another opinion. Loved the Capital Lights album!
09:39 AM on 07/14/08
#9
roisterboy
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I think this is a great CD. Anything ground-breaking? No, but if you're looking for a ground-breaking pop/punk band, then good luck finding one. I love this band's vocals. I hope to see them live this year.
10:11 AM on 07/14/08
Matthew Tsai
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I was just about to pick up Secret and Whispers album because I heard good things...then I read this..now I don't know what to do. Still picking it up, but it's good to hear another opinion. Loved the Capital Lights album!

still pick it up if you don't care about blatant rip-offs i guess. but i'll warn you that it is seriously a rip-off of soasin, no question. it's still a fun album, but it's so ripped off of saosin it's not even funny.
10:46 AM on 07/14/08
LowFlyingJets
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i love this cd, although certain parts of certain songs sound very curiously like green day and plus 44 songs haha
01:17 PM on 07/14/08
micahistheballs
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They did not put on a good show at Cornerstone, but this cd seems to have a hint of promise if you like that style of music.
11:20 PM on 07/16/08
Joe DeAndrea
Radiosurgery
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Really catchy but gets annoying really quick.
11:54 AM on 07/17/08
refgirl23
at least I'm not a UT fan
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Tis a pretty good album, overall generic sounding but something slightly different. We (me and my other music-obsessed friends) decided it was something in the vocals and the way it was sang.
01:58 PM on 07/17/08
Roboman
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You're out of your mind if you think S&W is a worthless tooth and nail signing. Wow. Nice try though.

I'm interested in hearing this Capital Lights record though. I've been waiting to hear anything off of it for a few months now, and have kept myself from listening until it came out.

Agreed. Secret & Whisper are solid, and if anything they are Stutterfly rip-offs...oh wait, that's because the majority of the members are from Stutterfly. I don't really understand how someone can call Secret & Whisper rip-offs after reviewing this album. From what I've heard (I still need to give it a full listen), it's nothing too special. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I take issue with anyone calling any band a "rip off".

However, I will agree with the reviewer about Since October...I couldn't even make myself finish one song. Nevertheless, I really enjoy about 90% of the Tooth & Nail catalog (even recent signings), so I can't complain too much.
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