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Album Review
Relient K - The Bird and the Bee Sides Album Cover

Relient K - The Bird and the Bee Sides

Reviewed by
8.6
Relient K - The Bird and The Bee Sides
Record Label: Gotee
Release Date: July 1, 2008
If there is one thing you can count on from Canton, Ohio’s Relient K, it’s consistency -- and having the ability to back that consistency up with an uplifting bravado that comes off as generosity rather than ego. Last winter, they graciously provided their fans with a Christmas record to sit by their fires with; this summer, the band has put together a lengthy double-set of new and old tracks alike for the cleverly-titled The Bird and The Bee Sides. While you could claim it’s a double-album, really, the band recorded 13 new songs (entitled the Nashville Tennis EP) and remastered some old gems from their various singles and EPs (dubbed The Bird and The Bee Sides). The entire set is a 26-track jubilee and clocks in at just over an hour, never succeeding as a cohesive whole -- but that really isn’t the album’s purpose.

The Nashville Tennis EP half showcases the band’s ever-growing pop-based sound, steering further and further away from their initial punk-rooted style found on earlier records. The new material and the b-side collection are interesting to compare, as they both have a glossy production and sound wonderful, but are essentially counterparts in the dynamic they each present to the listener (listen to the delicacy vocalist Matt Thiessen puts in his voice in the new songs as compared to, say, on “For The Band“). Part of this is due to the fact each band member writes and sings one song on their own, each one different than any other track. “No Reaction” has new drummer Ethan Luck trying out punk-infused reggae and guitarist Matt Hoopes serenades on the gentle and sweet-natured “You’ll Always Be My Best Friend.” Laid-back and very down-home, the new material continues to branch out from the songs on Five Score and Seven Years Ago and deliver piano-driven, harmony-fueled numbers.

Don’t be fooled, though -- it’s not all hammock-riding music here. “The Lining is Silver” is classic Relient K, both encouraging and toe-tapping, and “The Scene and Herd” contains some of Thiessen’s best tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“And I’m sorrowed that you probably / Magically got this song for free / I’m not sure if it bothers me, it seems fine / ‘cause I’m having a good time”). “Beaming” and “Bee Your Man,” (performed by second-guitarist John Schneck) while short, serve up a dose of the good-natured humor the band is known for, side by side with “There Was Another Time In My Life” and “I Just Want You To Know,” two mellow songs in an autobiographical narrative Thiessen is more apt to sing these days.

The b-side disc is a plethora of hard-to-find tracks from the band’s early EPs, as well as a couple demos and acoustic cuts thrown in for good measure. “Here We Go” sounds like an leftover from Mmhmm, and “The Stenographer” is a quirky piece that changes tempo three times and contains a lower-pitched Thiessen singing, “Smith & Wesson Jr. was a son of a gun / He pressed his nose up to my head / Yeah I was sweatin’ bullets but I dodged the one / That was not as much sweat as was lead.” Lyrical puns aside, the album is a nice evolutionary consultant of the band’s career, one that has careened from lyrics about “Thundercats” and horses to emotional, gut-spilling confessionals.

Relient K has perfected the art of remaining completely engaging and whimsical to more than just a Christian audience, expanding their positive sound and songwriting to a broader pop canvas, and if their newly-recorded material proves anything, it’s that this band is no longer going to be largely focused on wearing pink tuxes to the prom. The lining is definitely looking silver not only for fans, but especially for Relient K themselves.

Recommended if You LikeRelient K’s Five Score and Seven Years Ago; The All-American Rejects’ Move Along; New Found Glory’s Coming Home; and Dashboard Confessional's The Shade of Poison Trees
Choice Cuts“The Scene and Herd,” “The Lining is Silver,” and “Here We Go (Demo)”
TracklistingNashville Tennis EP
1. Where Do I Go From Here?
2. The Scene and Herd
3. At Least We Made It This Far
4. The Last, The Lost, The Least
5. The Lining is Silver
6. There Was No Thief
7. No Reaction
8. Curl Up and Die
9. You’ll Always Be My Best Friend
10. There Was Another Time In My Life
11. Beaming
12. I Just Want You To Know
13. Bee Your Man

The Bird and The Bee Sides
14. Up and Up (Acoustic)
15. Wit’s All Been Done Before
16. The Vinyl Countdown
17. For The Band
18. Nothing Without You
19. A Penny Loafer Saved is a Penny Loafer Earned
20. Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead or Dying
21. Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead or Dying (Ska Version)
22. Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been (Acoustic)
23. Here I Go (Demo)
24. The Stenographer (Demo)
25. Jefferson Aeroplane (Demo)
26. Hope For Every Fallen Man (Acoustic)
BandMatt Thiessen - vocals, guitar, piano
Matt Hoopes - guitar, vocals
John Schneck - guitar, banjo, bells, vocals
John Warne - bass, vocals
Ethan Luck - drums, vocals
Online VitalsOfficial Site; Official MySpace
PurchaseAmazon MP3
This review is a user submitted review from Chris Fallon. You can see all of Chris Fallon's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 66
09:44 PM on 06/30/08
#2
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Don't forget you can pick up a hidden song on the band's AP.net profile!
10:40 PM on 06/30/08
#3
pshh
stop trying so hard
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great summer album to listen to
11:36 PM on 06/30/08
#4
hailthewarrior
haters gonna hate hate hate
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great review, definitely going to buy this, as i own pretty much everything theyve put out since i was 11.
11:47 PM on 06/30/08
#5
WhoSaidThat?
twitter.com/TiredOfSeth
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Not that I wouldn't, but now I certainly WILL get this. Thank you, Chris.
12:31 AM on 07/01/08
#6
scottwh
Rawk
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i hope it has some great slow songs. i'm feeling really shitty right now and need a good slow song to cheer me up
01:02 AM on 07/01/08
#7
GoodTimes
regret would require less arrogance
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thank you for not turning your RIYL into comedy fail like your colleagues
01:03 AM on 07/01/08
#8
gladnads
iGnoble Apathian
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I've kinda grown outta listening to relient k, but if they have a five iron frenzy song it might be worth getting.
01:25 AM on 07/01/08
#9
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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thank you for not turning your RIYL into comedy fail like your colleagues


01:27 AM on 07/01/08
TBSEmoKid
...Is not really emo.
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Good review,man.I don't think Relient K can release a bad album,persay.The new tracks on the album are good for what they are,some of the best I've heard.However,being a Relient K fan since the time Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek came out,I have to say that they have progressively lost what I had originally loved them for.I think their peak was Mmhmm.A nice sound with a little more mature lyrics.I can listen to that all the way through,no problem.Five Score was good,but not as good.This album,imo,isn't as good as Five Score.
So do I think that they're not a good band?No way,they're completely enjoyable,and one of my favorites.But I do wish they'd go back to the older sound.
Oh,and I think the track is entitled No Reaction rather than No Reason?But I'm not entirely sure,haha.
01:42 AM on 07/01/08
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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I love your RIYL's Blake-a-roo.

Good review,man.I don't think Relient K can release a bad album,persay.The new tracks on the album are good for what they are,some of the best I've heard.However,being a Relient K fan since the time Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek came out,I have to say that they have progressively lost what I had originally loved them for.I think their peak was Mmhmm.A nice sound with a little more mature lyrics.I can listen to that all the way through,no problem.Five Score was good,but not as good.This album,imo,isn't as good as Five Score.
So do I think that they're not a good band?No way,they're completely enjoyable,and one of my favorites.But I do wish they'd go back to the older sound.
Oh,and I think the track is entitled No Reaction rather than No Reason?But I'm not entirely sure,haha.
You're right. Thanks, it's fixed now!
01:54 AM on 07/01/08
Snails
see the benefits.
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They're awesome, ignore him!
02:30 AM on 07/01/08
3eb23
The World Is Yours
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Oh man I love what you wrote here. Great review. I'm so glad to see such positive reception of Relient K's music. They deserve the kind words you've written and in my opinion, they stand head and shoulders above most of their colleagues.
03:55 AM on 07/01/08
qwertyboy5000
Bobbles.
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I believe the line is "That was not as much sweat as was lead." It's a bullet pun.
04:11 AM on 07/01/08
Ryzenfall
makin' good time
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Somebody has a sick(est) summer avatar.

Relient K is great. Long live the K.

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