Review Summary: I will refrain from making sexual remarks about this album's title.
Oh, Relient K...Remember when I used to love you? Me neither, but I always did think you were enjoyable, even if your huge amount of optimism made me want to vomit a little bit. I see you've released a B-side album. Is that really the title? That's cute.
Relient K is:
* Matt Thiessen – lead vocals, guitar, piano
* Matt Hoopes – guitar, backing vocals
* John Warne – bass guitar, backing vocals
* Jon Schneck – guitar, banjo, bells, backing vocals
* Ethan Luck – drums
Okay, so that thing about it being a B-side album, it's not entirely true, the second half of this thing is an EP, called "The Nashville Tennis EP". It's a b-side album, so this is a mixed bag of ideas, some of them good, (The over the top danciness of "The Scene and Herd"), some of them bad, (The awkward attempts at self searching in "There Was No Thief") and some good ideas mixed with bad ones (The backup shouts of "Hey!" during the until-then-great "The Lining is Silver). We also get to relive some alternate versions of songs already released.
I'm in a good mood, so I'll start with the good stuff on this CD. Every thing's catchy to some extent, and Matt Thiessen has a strong voice. Ethan Luck, while by himself is nothing special on drums, his often times fast and intense beats really drive the songs, which help with Relient K's somewhat ADD style. Bassist John Warne plays some good stuff, and sings on one of the albums highlights "The Last, The Lost, The Least". "The Scene and Herd", the first really good track on this CD, has some pretty clever lyrics, along with a chorus that will make you bob your head like an idiot. The acoustic re visitations of "Who I am Hates Who I've Been" and "Up and Up" are both good, but the former is easily the superior of the two. The piano taking place of the lead guitar in the intro and pre verse is very nice, and Matt's voice is just as strong.
Now for the bad. It's a B-sides CD, so everything on the first half was, for some reason, unfit to appear on one of the band's albums, and you can tell. Album opener "Where Do I Go From Here" sounds like something that would be on "Mmhmm", except it sounds like the band gave up on it. Pretty much everything wrong with this CD can probably be blamed on laziness, some songs on here just sound tired, like the band just wants to go home and finish recording. The demos on here are just as weak.
And then there's some other...Well, unusual tracks. "Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead Or Dying" is lame, but I didn't see the ska version coming up next, and the ska version is just hilarious. Drummer Ethan Luck sings on the track "No Reaction", where he sounds like a pissed off Mark Hoppus, and the vocal trade off in the chorus doesn't help them with the Blink-182 comparisons here.
Relient K have put together an album made up of hits and misses. Some songs will make your feet tap, others will make your eyes roll in directions they probably shouldn't. But hey, who am I kidding, if you really love Relient K enough to have even heard a song or two from this you probably already own this, and have it mounted on your wall next to your signed Relient K poster (Matt is SOO CUTE!). It's a catchy CD, but unfortunately, very few songs here have staying power, but that's pretty much a trademark of Relient K by now.
The Scene and Herd
The Lining is Silver
Who I Am Hates Who I've Been (Acoustic)