Relient K: The Anatomy of Random
Compiled by Jennifer E. Jones
CBN.com Associate Producer
As if an album that sold more than 51,000 copies in its
first week wasn't enough, Relient K adds yet another milestone
to their credits. "Be My Escape", off of their fourth
Gotee Records release, mmhmm,
hit No. 1 on the Christian rock charts this month. This accolade
comes on the tailend of the release of their first book, The
Complex Infrastructure Known as the Female Mind, a humorous
take on pop-culture stereotypes that girls can fall into.
The name Relient K was always synonymous with some of the most
contagious pop/punk rock, tongue-in-cheek songwriting and fun
anyone could ever ask for. But since the band's infancy, there
has also been an upward evolution that includes tighter musicianship,
increased songwriting smarts and a high-octane stage show regarded
by fans at sold out shows from coast to coast. Just trace the
progression from the band's tracksuit wearing days on 2000's self-titled
release to the plethora of puns on their breakthrough sophomore
release The Anatomy of the Tongue and Cheek to the Grammy
nominated Two Lefts Don't Make a Right…But Three Do,
and it's evident that Relient K thrive on raising the bar with
Their latest offering mmhmm is no exception demonstrating
yet another building block upon the group's reliable recipe. "There's
been a natural progression from the first onto the second, third
and now the fourth record," notes drummer Dave Douglas. "The
change has come incrementally with each disc. I don't feel like
we're taking a drastic number of turns, but the direction keeps
shifting for the better."
The reunion with longtime producer Mark Townsend comes at a
time when lines are being blurred between the post hardcore, post
punk and peak emo movements, making Relient K's original output
level especially attention grabbing.
"I feel like with this record when we're rocking heavy,
we're rocking heavier than we ever have and when we're letting
up with low key moments, it's more mellow then we've done in the
past. We're hitting our peaks correctly and all the angles are
really paying off," says lead singer/guitarist Matt Thiessen.
As for the messages behind such sparse pre-production sessions,
Thiessen turned to the basic root of his personality, a combination
of satire and seriousness that runs the gamut between relationships,
geography, faith and the weather. "It's my personality to
be cheesy and tell dumb jokes," he admits. "For the
last four of five years, I've taken all the puns I think of on
a daily basis and plant them in a song. Besides that tone, this
record also has personal ties. There's a lot about making mistakes,
failing, how amazing grace is and picking yourself back up."
"Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" launches with a reflective
piano arrangement that builds up with intensity to address life's
moments when everything seems to be failing, while reminding all
that God provides second chances. The potent "This Week,
The Trend" speaks of breaking through daily routine and living
each day to its adventurous fullest; the spunky "Maintain
Consciousness" is a colorful commentary on society's need
to be constantly stimulated by technology, and the blasting "Apathetic"
calls all to tone down their obsession over possessions.
There are also plenty of power chords that fall on the lighter
side of the topical fence, from the brooding vibe of "Life
After Death and Taxes" to the hysterically framed "My
Girl's Ex-Boyfriend". "I So Hate Consequences"
builds a bridge between the two writing styles, comically addressing
all the times we make mistakes and try to run from them, but also
coming to the realization that repentance and forgiveness are
necessary components in the healing process.
"We're not trying to hide anything with the songs on this
record, just to get what we feel out there," Thiessen summarizes.
"We've also found it to be the hardest thing in the world
to say 'Jesus' in a song and not be cheesy, so we definitely have
our own way of singing about spirituality. But in the end that's
who we are and what we believe in. We hope between that and the
music, it connects with someone out there."
Learn more about Relient K on their Web
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