Artist: Capital Lights

Title: Rhythm ‘N’ Moves

Label: Tooth & Nail Records

Oklahoma’s Capital Lights tore out of the alternative Christian music industry gate in 2008 with a punky power pop sound worthy of some crossover attention. Soon lost in a sea of similarly talented acts from Philmont to Run Kid Run, the band broke up in 2009 but has already reunited. That time away seems to have inspired the group to go for the Top 40 jugular, expanding its sound for maximum chart potential on Rhythm ‘N’ Moves.

For established fans, the leadoff title track starts the set with a familiar Green Day vibe, but the melodic structure is catchy in a singsong country way. Its theme of a not-so-cool guy pining for that popular girl (she walks on water while I sink in quicksand) dominates the project, continuing on the dreamy-eyed, Hot Chelle Rae-like “Let Your Hair Down” and the teenage movie-ready, opposites-attract “Coldfront Heatstroke.”

If you like what Maroon 5 does on Overexposed (merging rock with electronic pop tricks) but don’t dig that oversexed lyrical drive, see Capital Lights. “Caroline” is given over to machines with a robotic vocal hook and other ‘80s throwback techniques, telling a cautionary tale of how Hollywood took the girl . . . she thinks we’re all just paparazzi.

With that said, Rhythm ‘N’ Moves seems quite taken by the West Coast as well. “Newport Party” feels like a thinly veiled family-friendly rewrite of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” right down to the guest rap. And it’s nothing but a silly good time for all the party people in the house on “Say Hey!” when front man Bryson Phillips talk-rhymes a la Cake about how me and my girl go between a Caddy and a Range Ro’.

Capital Lights manages to work its enduring faith into this sugar rush several times. Sounding more like a band from the Midwest, “Honey Don’t Jump” advises the subject to take hope—When the world comes crashing down God’s arms are safe and sound. Even amidst the high drama of breakup ballad “Hey Little One” God is there to help.

Rhythm ‘N’ Moves may get the most attention out of “Gotta Have Love,” an overtly Christian song with acoustic charm and former Hawk Nelson singer Jason Dunn handling the second verse. Folksy and fun in that Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” sort of way, youth groups could very well be moving to its pop and reggae rhythms before summer’s done.

*This Review First Published 7/18/2012