At this point of its more than 10-year career fans know what to expect from Relient K, and you have come to either love or hate it. On its newest release and sixth full-length studio album, the band displays a songwriting maturity while adding subtle variations to its sound.
After the glossy sheen of 2007’s Howard Benson helmed Five Score And Seven Years Ago, the group has reunited with longtime producer Mark Lee Townsend to continue what was started on last year’s The Tennis EP. The record doesn’t quite have a rockin’ anthem like “I Need You,” although “Sahara” and “If You Believe Me” come close. Instead, much of the time is spent on mid-tempo numbers and piano infused pop-rock, such as the standout “Therapy,” which fits into the record’s more contemplative feel.
Frontman Matt Thiessen is one of the best lyricists in the pop-punk genre and continues to show why here. This is definitely one of his most serious records, as no joke or corny songs made the cut. In its place, he has crafted Relient K’s version of a breakup record, influenced no doubt by his own broken engagement. Yet even this can’t completely extinguish his trademark positivity, as seen on the album’s two-part closer “This Is The End (If You Want It),” one of the disc’s strongest.
In the end, Relient K has turned in one of its strongest overall efforts to date and isn’t afraid to switch things up, like on the breezy “Savannah.” Once again the band has managed to breathe fresh air into the increasingly stagnant pop-punk field, and remains one of the genre’s best.
RIYL: Jack’s Mannequin, Yellowcard, Augustana, John Cusack