CD Review: Relient K’s ‘Apathetic’ EP

It’s been a pattern for tongue-in-cheek songwriters Relient K to come out with an extended play album in between each full release. With four full-length albums under their now veteran power-pop-punk-rock belt (not including their 2003 Christmas project), it’s time to do it again.

The newest EP, Apathetic, features 7 previously unreleased tracks from the Canton, Ohio quintet. Soaring guitars introduce Matt Thiessen’s familiar vocals on “The Truth,” which is followed by the feel-good track, “Apathetic Way to Be.” The boys have a habit of writing in clever puns to their songs; this release is no exception: “…And then half of me is all about apathy, and the other half just doesn’t care.”Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

As its title suggests, “In Like a Lion” sounds like a tribute to the changing seasons, but was actually written for the CD inspired by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In it, Thiessen juxtaposes winter’s bleakness with the hope of the Christmas season. Seasonal analogies are effective here in a way that doesn’t seem overdone.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

“Be My Escape” breaks up the rock with a folk-sounding ballad. Acoustic guitars are fully appropriate here as Thiessen sings out of a desperate state and claims that he is hostage to his own humanity. “I’ve gotta get out of here, and I’m begging you to be my escape. This life sentence that I’m serving, I admit that I’m every bit deserving. But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.”Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Relient K has certainly figured out how to please and keep their fans. Their recent Capitol Records release mmHmm produced a video on MTV’s TRL Top Ten. Tight, high-energy musicianship lends to expert live performances, and they seem to raise the bar for themselves with each new project – this EP is no exception. Its content is far from spiritually indifferent, as the group often sings about life and failure from a hopeful perspective…though Thiessen and the band admittedly find it to be “the hardest thing in the world to say ‘Jesus’ in a song” and not be cheesy.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

“But in the end that’s who we are and what we believe in,” he says. “We hope between that and the music, it connects with someone out there.” Apathetic is a great disc that will not disappoint Relient K fans. Impressively, it’s a strong enough effort to win the group a few more.

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