Relient K
Forget and Not Slow Down


4.0
excellent

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (109 Reviews)
October 1st, 2009 | 194 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Relient K grow up yet again and release their best album to date.

Five years ago, Christian pop-punkers Relient K released mmhmm. After years of writing juvenile, poppy anthems for adolescents in WWJD bracelets, Relient K decided to spontaneously mature with said record. Somewhere along the teeny-bopper yellow-brick road, Relient K became serious with their music and the results were immediately promising. The band traded goofy songs like "May the Horse Be With You" for aggressive, pensive tracks such as the unforgettable "Which to Busy, Us or the Hatchet?". Yet unfortunately for Relient K's dignity, this maturity was shortlived: two years later, along came Five Score and Seven Years Ago, an album that, while still enjoyable, set the band back a few years in terms of stylistic choices, lyrical concepts and general execution. Did the man who wrote the emotional "I So Hate Consequences" really write the lyrics "we should get jerseys 'cause we make a good team/But yours would look better than mine 'cause you're outta my league"? Five Score and Seven Years Ago was a legitimate regression. With this blip in Relient K's evolution in mind, it's with great delight that I can announce that Relient K are back on track again -- and they've never been better. Forget and Not Slow Down finds Relient K writing catchy, pop-rock songs without falling prey to uselessness and outlandish statements again; it finds Relient K inarguably writing the best album of their career.

Forget and Not Slow Down is decorated by the introduction of very prominent acoustic guitars and drastically improved vocal melodies (see the title track for confirmation). Pianos, handclaps, slightly dirty-but-not-distorted guitar tones and harmonies have been littered artistically throughout Relient K's trademark poppy sound on the record, making their overall dynamic a little more well-rounded and their appeal a thoroughly broadened. Songs like the almost indie-pop 'Candlelight', 'Over It' and 'Savannah' are jubilant exercises in infectious melodies and ridiculously invasive hooks, with each song boasting excellent performances from each member of the band (particularly vocalist Matt Thiessen). While no songs like the dissonant, driving 'I Need You' are present on Forget and Not Slow Down, the album does make an effort to be feasibly loud (for pop-punk, that is). 'I Don't Need a Soul' and 'If You Believe Me' are high-energy, classic Relient K songs with just a pinch of extra tastefulness added, while the real winner of the beefier songs is 'Sahara', a riff-tastic, Aaron Gillespie-guested masterpiece of an aggressive tune that features both commendable vocal performances and laudable riffery from guitarist Matt Hoopes.

As a band, Relient K has never played together better. Gone are the ridiculous, palm-muted chords of 'Taking You With Me' and in are memorable, delay-ridden guitar riffs. Gone is the anticlimactic, predictable drumming of the past and in are the clever fills of new drummer Ethan Luck (who was, strangely enough, formerly a guitarist for Demon Hunter). Yet the most important facet of Relient K's buoyant sound is undoubtedly vocalist Matt Theissen's distinctive voice. While the rest of the band construct a more than commendable performance together, Thiessen undoubtedly steals the show with his sometimes-sugary-othertimes-raspy croon. Breathing life into his always sincere and syllabically perfect lyrics, he takes hold of the album from the very first few notes and single-handedly escalates the record from being great to being fantastic.

Though it may be the best album Relient K will ever make, Forget and Not Slow Down is certainly far from perfect. Filler tracks come in the form of the forgettable 'Part of It' and 'Therapy'. Both songs seem to be dumbed down versions of better songs on the record; songs that add nothing more than running time to an otherwise engaging record. Likewise, 'If You Believe Me' boasts a catchy chorus from the always-excellent The Classic Crime vocalist Matt MacDonald, but his vocal feature seems rushed during the lifeless chorus and it ultimately dampers the song. Lastly, 'This is the End' harks back to earlier Relient K material with it's driving sound and breve composition but it feels completely out of place amongst the rest of the band's newer concoctions -- it's left like a carrot in a corn field; completely out of place.

However, it's shortcomings are few and forgivable -- for what it's worth, Forget and Not Slow Down is one of the most surprisingly solid releases of 2009 and Relient K's best work to date. In what is a very successful merger of a softer, more mature sound and Relient K's classic charm, the album succeeds in being catchy, sincere and grown-up all at once. From the lyrics, to the melodies and even to the album artwork, Relient K have grown up yet again with such good results that even mmhmm pales strongly in comparison. Color me and detractors of Five Score and Seven Years Ago surprised.



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user ratings (249)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
October 1st 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stream: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news.php?newsid=10919
Context: http://thesaintmarcus.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/traditional20wwjd1.jpg
Reviewing Technique: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insomnia

Happy Octobering, Sputnik!

Digging: Hey Rosetta! - Second Sight

Douglas
October 1st 2009


9118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rules probs be a 4 soon

Waior
October 1st 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, man, the 'Oasis/Savannah/Baby' trio is just delicious. Probably my favorite thing this band has ever done, those three songs.

Tits McGee
October 1st 2009


1876 Comments


Reviewer Personality: Faggot

shortone323
October 1st 2009


883 Comments


Didn't know this band still existed. I used to love Be My Escape when i was like 13. Good review.

Zip
October 1st 2009


5312 Comments


who didn't love Be My Escape?

Curse.
Contributing Reviewer
October 1st 2009


8010 Comments


Nicely done, insomniac!

WhiteWallStargazers
October 1st 2009


2647 Comments


didn't read the whole thing, but pos'd ....never was a huge fan of this band really

Zip
October 1st 2009


5312 Comments


who actually reads Waior's reviews?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2009


8371 Comments


who actually reads Waior's reviews?
LOL, i would want to see Waior's face-expression when he reads that line.

Zip
October 1st 2009


5312 Comments


well seriously, it's like he vomitted up a section of the dictionary and threw and band name on top of it.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2009


8371 Comments


well maybe you are right, i personally prefer to write the crisp and clear reviews, but it's everyones own decision how they review. Waior definitely has them skillz to do it, and if he chooses the vomited dictionary mode, then so be it.

Zip
October 1st 2009


5312 Comments


I prefer the short and concise reviews

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2009


8371 Comments


i prefer the medium-length, descriptive reviews.

Ponton
Emeritus
October 1st 2009


5804 Comments


I prefer a good review.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 1st 2009


8371 Comments


lol, touche

Waior
October 1st 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well seriously, it's like he vomitted up a section of the dictionary and threw and band name on top of it.


the irony is, if you had read this review you would realize that this review is deliberately non-huge-vocabulary'd for the sake of people like you complaining about knowing too little words

Phantom
October 1st 2009


8930 Comments


yeah man tone it down for the simpletons

dammit you're annoying

Waior
October 1st 2009


11461 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it just seems off-kilter to accuse a review of something if you haven't read it, no?



AlexTM510
October 1st 2009


1403 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i guess im gonna have to give this a listen now

nice review as always

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!



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