Relient K

The Bird And The Bee Sides

Written by: TL on 31/07/2008 17:01:21

The new \"The Bird And The Bee Sides\", from Relient K is not your ordinary release. Sure, double albums aren\'t exactly anything unusual, but what Relient K have done is throw 26 tracks into it, the first 13 being new ones, which make out \"The Nashville Tennis EP\" (a pun on \"The Nashville Tennessee P\"), and then the other 13 are old hard to come by songs, making out \"The Bee Sides\".

Starting with the new songs, they all bear a rather country touch, fitting the EP\'s title fine I suppose. The songs show that Relient K is a band that has been going strong for 10 years now, as this material is rather mellow compared to their older stuff. Banjos and acoustic guitars characterize the songs, most of which are balladic in nature. On one hand, you have to admire the band for being able to consistently craft quality layered pop songs, filled with attention to detail, and lacking in any sort of bullshit or dumbed down content. Personally, I recommend \"The Lining Is Silver\" as my favourite example. On the other hand, it\'s hard not to think that by now, this is Relient K on auto-pilot, taking little chances and doing very little to distinguish the new songs from the old.

Then it\'s naturally another case on \"The Bee Sides\", where you really get to hear how many things the band has tried out during their career. Songs like \"Wit\'s All Been Done Before\", \"The Vinyl Countdown\" and \"For The Band\" are all examples of good old fashioned pop punk anthems, with the tempo turned up and choruses that are stickier than bubblegum. \"Beaming\" and the ska-version of \"Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead Or Dying\" smell a tiny bit like some of NOFX\'s sillier reggae/ska experiments, and \"Nothing Without You\" and the original \"Five Iron Frenzy..\" are both as directly punk as you\'ll hear them. Then there\'s \"Up And Up\" and the acoustic \"Who I Am Hates Who I\'ve Been\", that both hint of Something Corporate-ish sentimentality, \"The Stenographer\" and \"A Penny Loafter Saved Is A Penny Loafer Earned\" both bearing witness of the band having undergone a Beach Boys phase, the former also sounding mildly of Hellogoodbye.

Lyrically, the old songs are filled with attitude and small curiosities, commenting on the music scene and fooling around, like when the words \"singing out of key\" is sung so the word \"key\" is in fact out of key, or how about this example \"Smith And Wesson Jr. was a son of a gun\"? In comparison, the new ones are more serious, but they merely showcase a band that has aged with grace, even reminding me a little bit of Death Cab For Cutie on \"There Was No Thief\", arguably the most intensely emotional track.

In total, I really like \"The Bird And The Bee Sides\". Usually, when bands make a double album they forget the \"less is more\" rule, and end up having too much filler in there, but here, there\'s bang for every buck, seeing how it\'s equally interesting listening to the state of Relient K today as it is to dig into their considerable back catalogue. Sure, you won\'t find any musical revolutions on the disc, but that being said, everything that\'s done is done in a top-notch fashion from the beginning to the end, and Relient K never set a foot wrong here. I know a lot of people are busy bringing the band down because of their proclaimed Christian faith, but if it\'s mostly silly, here it\'s downright retarded because there\'s next to no direct references to God here.

Download: The Lining Is Silver, For The Band, Jefferson Airplane
For The Fans Of: Cute Is What We Aim For, Fall Out Boy, Hellogoodbye
Listen: myspace.com/relientk

Release date 01.07.2008
Gotee Records

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