Rhythm N' Moves
These days it can be tempting for a band to try out muscling the mounds of competition by trying to technically outplay one another and constantly upping the hipster quotient, though in the case of Capital Lights' sophomore CD Rhythm N' Moves (Tooth & Nail), it's all about the melodies and hooks. Granted, the Tulsa-based band is unbelievably tight and talented, as chiseled out on the road with the likes of Hawk Nelson and Run Kid Run, but there's a sweet simplicity to the project that's so immediate it's impossible not to sing along after just a few spins.
"We're still power pop, but there's less power and more pop on this project," notes front man Bryson Phillips when stacking up new songs against the group's debut This Is An Outrage! "There's not as much rock this round as the first album and it's more laid back, but we've also expanded with more styles. We're still the same band, but we put the focus on melodies without trying to be overly technical."
The results find Capital Lights fitting just as comfortably in the category of Jimmy Eat World, Relient K and Green Day as today's Top 40 leaders like LMFAO, Katy Perry, Cobra Starship and Taio Cruz. Besides being inspired by the guys' continuously expanding musical tastes, the underlying goal with Rhythm N' Moves is to glean appeal from a wider audience.
"There's much more to this album than strictly rock, and in the case of 'Say Hey!' there's even a hip-hop feel," continues Bryson. "We just decided 'why not?' and went all out. Some songs have sampled drums and a few songs hardly have any guitars at all. We didn't try to limit ourselves by trying to reach a specific audience, but branch out to those that might not have listened to us before."
Another new leaf comes in the group's self-produced status, which follows on the heels of collaborating with Aaron Sprinkle throughout This Is An Outrage! During those sessions, the foursome honed their songwriting chops and became so engaged in the actual recording process that they wanted to personally give it a shot from start to finish.
"If we hadn't first recorded with Aaron, we wouldn't have been as proud of this project because he gave us so many tips on writing, like how you shouldn't waste time in a song by making a bridge or instrumental section too long," adds Bryson. "We recorded the drums, bass and guitar at our church and the vocals, sampling and piano at my house. We would've had the record out sooner, but there was a lot of time spent on the set up and tear down!"
Amidst the lengthy marinating process and the ensuing musical changes, long time fans are sure to find Rhythm N' Moves well worth the wait thanks to plenty of signature guitar chord surges and opportunities to roll down the windows and sing at the top of their lungs. The title track is a solid place to start thanks to its boundless energy and chunky grooves, while previous tour mate Jason Dunn (former Hawk Nelson singer) guests throughout the meaningful message of "Gotta Have Love". And even more than before, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate throughout the collection, most notably, the throbbing "Newport Party" that simply screams fun.
As Bryson (the group's primary songwriter) continues to ponder the subject of songwriting, it becomes increasingly clear that connecting with listeners is Capital Lights' number one priority. And that relationship doesn't just end after the album is over, but is ideally something that can be sewn into the very fabric of life's daily soundtrack.
"We relate all of our songs to what we're doing at the time and we wanted to put out an album for our fans that can spark memories of a good time for years to come," enthuses Bryson. "Hopefully Rhythm N' Moves will satisfy the current fans of Capital Lights and pull in a few more for the first time. We had a blast making the songs and we hope people have just as much fun listening."
Bryson Phillips: Vocals
Brett Admire: Guitar
Michael Paul Phillips: Drums
Jonathan Williams: Guitars
Jon Odle: Bass