- Rhythm ‘N’ Moves
- Let Your Hair Down
- Coldfront Heatstroke
- Newport Party
- Honey Don’t Jump
- Say Hey!
- Don’t Drop Dead, Juliet
- Hey Little One
- Save The Last Dance
- Gotta Have Love
The very first time I heard Capital Lights’ song “Outrage” I was hooked on their music. The searing guitars and infectious hooks caught me right away and I’ve been a fan ever since. When they disbanded, I, along with countless other fans, was devastated that there would never be new music from them. Since the rumors of a new album first began, I waited patiently for a new single to be released. When “Coldfront Heatstroke” was first posted online, I listened with high hopes—and was not disappointed. That was the moment my fire for Capital Lights was rekindled.
Capital Lights is a pop/rock band from Sand Springs, Oklahoma. The members of the band are Bryson Phillips, vocals; Brett Admire, guitar; Jonathan Williams, guitars; and Michael Paul Phillips, drums. In 2008, the band released their critically acclaimed debut album This is an Outrage! and then toured the country in support of the album. In 2009, exactly a year and a half after their start, the band played their last show and officially called it quits to pursue individual ambitions and dreams. After each of the members went through seasons in life of earning college degrees, getting married, and just living, they went back into the studio. That brings us up to the present, with the highly anticipated release of Rhythm ‘N’ Moves.
As soon as the first track begins—in true Capital Lights fashion with the title track, “Rhythm ‘N’ Moves,” leading off—you just know the album is going to be good. The song talks about a girl who fits the guy like a puzzle piece: “I’ve got the rhythm; / She’s got the moves, / All tight fits in all the right grooves.” The lyrics make use of the play-on-words we all know and love from Capital Lights to tell the story and create images in our minds. “Let Your Hair Down” starts off acoustic with a clapping beat in the background and piano eventually added. Once it hits the chorus, the song takes off as a poppy dance anthem that reminds me of something by Eleventyseven. Next, “Caroline” talks about a girl who became over-obsessed with the Hollywood lifestyle and lost all sight of reality: “She must be dreaming.” The song has a mostly electronic sound to it with a lot of synths and vocal effects, but not anything as harsh as auto-tune that would mask Bryson’s voice.
“Coldfront Heatstroke,” the first single Capital Lights released to the world, comes in as the fourth track on Rhythm ‘N’ Moves. This song has all of the elements that listeners love about Capital Lights’ songs, in this case just happening a bit slower and more subdued than usual—but never, ever, dull. The lyrics of the song are about a rollercoaster relationship where nothing goes right: “She’s a coldfront giving me a heatstroke, / She’s a hit song ending on a weak note, / I go high / She goes low.” Next, “Newport Party” is a dance song about parties in the Orange County area of California: “A Newport party is not a real party till Laguna Beach bodies arrive, / Oh, the Riverside fellas lose their Cinderellas every night Orange County’s alive.” On this song, Bayn, a Tulsa, OK-based rapper joins Capital Lights for a fun rap that even throws in some of Capital Lights’ previous song titles. “Honey Don’t Jump” is an encouraging ballad about a depressed girl who eventually comes to know a relationship with the Lord and then realizes everything really is okay.
Next comes “Say Hey!” which has a bit of a reggae feel, but without all of those terrible sounds that come with reggae, so don’t worry. It’s another song about parties and just having fun out with friends. “Don’t Drop Dead, Juliet” starts out with some cool whistling and acoustic guitar. The lyrics talk about a guy who is neglecting a relationship and begging the girl not to give up on him: “When you fell for me you swore it’d be for life, / Well I’m not dead yet, Juliet.” This song is good and has interesting lyrics, but I was underwhelmed by the vocals because of some awkward falsetto notes. Next, “Hey Little One” is a slow ballad that starts out with a gorgeous piano solo. This song seems to be about lost love, though it’s not completely clear if it’s about a girl, or a child, or both. It is pretty depressing and I really could have done without it on the album. When I think of Capital Lights, I think happy and poppy, but this song does show a sense of maturity from the band.
My favorite song on Rhythm ‘N’ Moves would have to be the second-to-last track, “Save The Last Dance.” This song gives me hope for the future of music. This is a song that would be fun to rock out to at a show (hint, hint, Capital Lights, please tour). I absolutely love the guitar riff in the intro; it reminds me of all of my favorite music from the past few years. I love the lyrics in this song because they’re just pure fun: “Let tonight be the night that the last dance will win you over. / In the final song you’ll get swept off your feet.” Toward the end, there’s even an awesome guitar solo, something most music these days is really lacking. Capital Lights creates a grand finale on Rhythm ‘N’ Moves by enlisting the help of a superstar—former Hawk Nelson frontman, Jason Dunn, whose vocals become the biggest highlight of the final track, “Gotta Have Love.” Jason’s harmonies with Bryson Phillips are also absolutely fantastic. The song is a slow acoustic track with a bit of a folky feel. The lyrics are all about God’s love: “In this world / it’s all about who you know, / And I know someone that’s out of this world.” This song makes for the perfect end to an incredible album.
Overall: Capital Lights is an amazing band—we all know that. But this album shows that they have an unbelievable amount of talent to be able to come back from their hiatus and make such great music. They’ve included all the elements that fans know and love them for, but have also branched out to experiment and try new things. Their lyrics are fun as always, I know I’m not the only one who loves listening to their use of play-on-words with an open ear for their meanings. Their distinctive guitar riffs are exactly what I would expect from Capital Lights, if not better. As always, Bryson’s vocals give the songs an extra-special feel that no other vocalist could match. Rhythm ‘N’ Moves is an awesome new chapter in the life of this band, and whether they choose to disband again, or change their mind and decide to tour after all, I know their fans will continue to support them. Even if you’ve never been a fan of Capital Lights before, I highly recommend checking out this album.
Score: Critically: 4/5, Personally: 5/5.