Relient K

Collapsible Lung

Written by: TL on 08/08/2013 22:52:53

I regularly wonder if there doesn't come a point in a band's career where they start to feel like they've tried what they wanted, and it starts to feel like they're writing around the same ideas again and again. With now nine studio albums under their belt (counting their Christmas and cover albums), veteran pop-punkers Relient K are certainly subject to such concern, especially considering the expectations I can't help but have for them due to how much I liked their previous effort "Forget And Not Slow Down".

Singer/guitarist/keyboardist/main-man Matthew Thiessen has already admitted that "Collapsible Lung" is a deliberate pop album that "needed to be written", whilst promising that it's eventual follow-up would undoubtedly be a rock record. The former piece of information would have been observable without Thiessen's help however, because "Collapsible Lung" isn't coy about revealing itself as a bubbly and eclectic little collection of pop-songs. The finger-snapping and piano-boxxing of "Lost Boy" and the hand-clapping and minimalist guitar of "Boomerang" soon showcase as much, sounding like something you'd expect from The All-American Rejects of late, or even Maroon 5, while "Can't Complain" almost Jason Mraz-ish in its chilled-out acousticness.

Still, Relient K have long known composition, so predictably they show aptness despite experimenting with their style, and the songs are hence, surprise surprise, quite catchy, with Thiessen's traditionally charming and witty vocals preventing them from sounding nearly as tryhard as the many younger pop-sensations on the charts. On the downside, it feels like he's let the light feel of the music be an opportunity to add some rather light subject material, and while "Lost Boy" offers a lovably naive romance, it's mostly hard to feel moved to care much about what the songs are about, with especially "Can't Complain" feeling perhaps a little too banal in this department.

Moreover, while "Boomerang" has the kind of chorus that sticks like glue even if you weren't really listening, and while "Gloria" should be appreciated by music-nerds for how the hysterically poppy chorus and production is layered on top of a beat and melody that sounds 70s punk - as the record moves on, it still feels like it really doesn't have anything to say other than "hear us try on pop sounds for size". It's poppy, it's relatively diverse without being incoherent, and it's Relient K so you know it's pretty classy and tasteful, but when all is said and done, "Collapsible Lung" inevitably still feels a little too shallow for my tastes. Of course it's worth considering if it's a tall order for all albums to always have something to desperately want to communicate to the listener, and if you think so, maybe consider adding a bit to this grade:

Download: Boomerang, Lost Boy, Gloria
For The Fans Of: The All-American Rejects, Maroon 5, The Rocket Summer, Marianas Trench,
Listen: facebook.com/relientk

Release Date 02.07.2013
Mono vs Stereo / Jive

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