Relient K

Five Score And Seven Years Ago

Written by: TL on 06/03/2007 23:26:29

When you keep in mind that Christian pop-punk veterans Relient K have been around for seven years and released five albums in that period, it doesn't take a genius to figure out why their latest release is titled "Five Score And Seven Years Ago". The difficulty of that deduction is also quite resemblant to figuring out the direction the guys have taken on this effort. Following up on what was fair to call their mainstream breakthrough "Mmhmm", the band have stuck to their trademark sweet-as-candy and radio friendly melodic pop-punk and if you've heard anything from "Mmhmm" you pretty much know what you're in for.

But I don't want you to think this is just a carbon copy of the previous record, because despite how the band still relies on their sweetness and accessability, occationally spiced with a bit harder riffage, the songs on "Five Score And Seven Years Ago" are quite capable of standing out on their own, with lyrics that at least to me tell of a band that has in fact matured somewhat since their last time around. While opener "Plead The Fifth" makes you think Beach Boys came back to haunt you, the first 'real' track "Come Right Out And Say It" is no less than spot on exactly what you'd expect from a band like Relient K. It's brilliant, it's catchy, it's sweet and it never feels like a total cheesefest. On the following "I Need You" the harder elements reveal themselves, effectively making the band sound somewhat like Anberlin, and while being an alright song, this isn't the strongest side to their music. The album bounces back and forth between these two 'poles' with the next really interesting song being the Bowling For Soup-ish "Must Have Done Something Right". Again, the emphasis on the trademark sugarcoated charm is what makes the track shine.

Tracks like "I'm Taking You With Me" and "Bite My Tongue" keep the album at a high level by continuing the style of "Come Right Out And Say It", while songs like "Faking My Own Suicide" and "Deathbed" add to the curiosity-factor, with the first having plenty of humor and being cute in a way you'd expect from Saves The Day. "Deathbed" on the other hand is a pretty serious 'epic' song about a guy who's dying of cancer, and the bands depiction of the thoughts he goes through in his terminal state is actually really awesome up until the point where one of the most annoying things of this record really comes out and roars.

I KNOW Relient K is pretty much THE Christian band, but pretty fucking please, why does the song have to end with some way too cheesy stuff about how the character feels he is being saved by Jesus. Coming from these guys this really can't help but seem like super-nasty propaganda bullshit, and while the religious hints had so far been forgiveable this is just one huge fuckin' "I LOVE JESUS"-sign hitting you in the face at the end of the album, and to me at least it's an equally huge subtraction of artistic credibility. Up until this point the only thing that had been bugging me was the nagging thought that at some times the sweet sound can come dangerously close to the point where it starts to get nauseous, and while I was going to have forgiven them this, now I feel like I have to point it out to the guys, as well as reminding them that NO they are NOT The Arcade Fire, and their music is usually perceived as being way to obvious and lighthearted to get away with being preachy. All facts considered though, "Five Score..." is bit too much of a rollercoaster ride to be graded as a completely rockin' cd, but it has its moments, and for that it does deserve


Download: Come Right Out And Say It, I'm Taking You With Me, Bite My Tongue
For the fans of: The Starting Line, Anberlin, Yellowcard, Sugarcult
Listen: MySpace

Release date 06.03.2007
Capitol Records

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