Three months ago I did a brief review of the 3 song, self titled EP by Anthem Lights. I thought it was promising, better than their previous incarnation as Yellow Cavalier, and promised to revisit them when their full length album came out. I gave the EP 3.5 Emeralds. Now, if you're familiar with my rating system, you know 3.5 Emeralds basically means "You're on your own, Jack". While the album may be good, I am not going to give it the Night Beat Seal of Approval (a very coveted badge, I'll have you know). The low threshold for PVA Consideration is 4, 4.5 is almost certain, and a Perfect 5 Emerald Rating is a lock to be among the final 7 nominees.
The Light Boys took my criticism to heart and released a vastly a superior product in the ensuing three months. The ten song CD contains 7 new songs, as well as the 3 from the also Self Titled EP. Things get off to a rocking start with the Radio Single Can't Shut Up, which along with I Wanna Know You Like That and the Modern Worship entry I Can't Get Over You, came from the EP.
As was a trademark among Boy Bands, the harmonies between Chad Graham, Kyle Kupecky, Alan Powell and Caleb Grimm is exceptional. What sets them apart is the message. Whether it be talking about Christian Boldness (Can't Shut Up) , the need for world missions (Lighthouse), or the internal struggle between good and evil (Freedom into Slavery), the message is what rises to the forefront. My personal favorites are CSU, Circles, which deals with making the same mistakes over again and again, the Rock-Dance Outta My Mind, and the string heavy Where The Light Is, which is about Hope in Hopelessness.
When all is said and done, I am giving Anthem Lights 4.5 Emeralds. I can guarantee that it will make it into the first round of the finals for the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards. Beyond that, it all depends on the strength of the field. "Where the light is, darkness can't be found. Where the light is, darkness must be bound". Shine on.