Relient K Biography
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Relient K's fifth album in seven years and the follow up to 2004's mmhmm, the band's third consecutive Gold album - some are bound to ask, has the pop-punk band, ahem, matured a bit? Well, yes â€“ sort of. While the new album isn't chockfull of their characteristic puns and concludes with an 11-minute, 115-track tour de force entitled "Deathbed," rest assured, Relient K has not lost its quirky sense of humor.
The first track, the a cappella vignette "Plead the Fifth," for instance, is written from the viewpoint of an 19th century man with an outlandish conspiracy theory about Lincoln's death and it features lead vocalist/guitarist/pianist Matt Thiessen using his mouth to simulate each instrument of a drum kit. "Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care," which takes longer to say than to play, is a classic Relient K goofball aside. And while the epic "Deathbed," which includes Switchfoot's Jon Foreman on guest vocals, has a somber setting as its title implies, the masterfully woven tale of a man's life and death brims with witty observations and aural ironies.
"I really love to not be serious all the time, even when I am being serious," says Thiessen, who likens the band's growth on Five Score And Seven Years Ago to Laffy Taffy. "It's the same flavor but we try to stretch it a little bit. It's still melodic, it's still rock 'n' roll, there are still a lot of dynamics. But at the same time, we're trying to write a bit differently, lyrically."
Indeed, the album is a departure for Relient K. In addition to the two story-songs that bookend the album, there are some love songs - and they're happy ones. "I always write about what I'm going through and I can't avoid the fact that I'm just really happy and there are some good things going on," says Thiessen.
The elation is palpable on "The Best Thing," which veers giddily between majestic piano flourishes and punked-out bliss delivered at breakneck speed. And the happy state of mind lights up the exuberant first single "Must Have Done Something Right" as well. "This song represents something that I've wanted to create for a long time," explains Thiessen. "It's not a political commentary or a tear jerking emotion-piece, it's just a feel good, fun song. Written at 3 a.m. with a smirk on my face, the song turned out to be something that you can tap your foot and smile to." Infatuation is viewed through a fisheye lens in "Faking My Own Suicide," wherein the narrator (with a wink and a nod to the classic 1970's comedy Harold and Maude) fantasizes about faking a suicide attempt to gain the attention - and affection - of his dream girl.
But Five Score And Seven Years Ago is more than an intriguing mix of light and dark humor. Tracks like "Devastation And Reform," "Bite My Tongue" and "Up And Up" pick up where mmhmm's "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been" left off. Classic literature from Aristotle on has made much of the tragic hero undone by his one fatal flaw â€“ but Relient K has always been more interested in the everyman who messes up in a myriad of smaller ways. "We're all doomed to make mistakes and to try to recover," says Thiessen. "But I prefer to look at it from the positive, and refer to it as a grace kind of thing." Thus self-loathing is pushed aside in favor of redemption and the promise offered by each new day.
Five Score And Seven Years Ago marks Relient K's first full-length album featuring bassist John Warne and Jon Schneck - although the two appeared on the band's Apathetic EP, released in late 2005. With original guitarist Matt Hoopes and drummer Dave Douglas completing the lineup, Relient K is now a quintet with each of the members contributing vocals. The backing harmonies, stunning throughout, amp up the infectious "Must Have Done Something Right" and serve as an ironic counterpoint in "Deathbed." But the biggest change was in the control booth.
Relient K recorded most of the album in Los Angeles with producer Howard Benson (Less Than Jake, My Chemical Romance, the All-American Rejects). "I was honestly pretty nervous," confesses lead guitarist Matt Hoopes, "We'd never really worked with any other producer beside Mark Townsend - he did everything from our first demo, all the way up to the last album. But it was a good experience working with Howard."
Benson quickly assuaged Hoopes' jitters, creating a supportive environment and bringing a fresh perspective to the band's music. When their tight recording schedule drew to a close, most of the band scattered to their respective homes for a quick break before the Nintendo Fusion tour. (Originally based in Canton, Ohio, the band now lives "all over the place," as Hoopes describes. He and Schneck live in Nashville, Warne lives in Denver and Thiessen and Douglas remain in Ohio.) After L.A., Hoopes put Thiessen up at his place and the two worked in a Nashville studio with producer Townsend, where they recorded most of "Plead the Fifth," "Deathbed" and "Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care."
Five Score And Seven Years Ago is an ambitious follow-up to mmhmm, Relient K's first joint Gotee Records/Capitol release, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200 and at #1 on the internet chart in 2004. It has subsequently been certified Gold as have the band's previous two albums, 2003's Grammy-nominated Two Lefts Don't Make a Right... But Three Do and 2001's The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek. Propelled by the success of mmhmm and its two Top 20 singles ("Be My Escape" and "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been"), the band has toured incessantly, hitting the road with bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and MXPX and landing a main stage slot on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour, and logging a slew of television appearances, including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" as well as MTV's "TRL," "Hard Rock Live" and "Summer on the Strip from Las Vegas." Yet Relient K (yes, named for the Reliant K automobile, which Plymouth manufactured in the 1980's) relishes its relative anonymity. "We're still under the radar, nobody knows who we are," says Thiessen gleefully. Mmhmm, given the promise of Five Score And Seven Years Ago, that may change.
Thanks to Evan for submitting the biography.
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Totally awesome!!! | Reviewer: Becca | 8/6/09
I first heard relient k on one ot the wow hits cds at first i really want sure about them but then i was talking to a friend and he suggested a song and now i totally love relient k! I only have one of there cds but i love every song on it!
Relient K | Reviewer: Evan | 1/15/09
Relient k Rules!!! I first heard of them b/c of WOW hits, but now I own 3 relient k CD's and I sooooo wish I had more- too bad christmas is over! I love Relient K so much, I'm doing a school project on them!!!
Superb | Reviewer: Rin | 11/12/08
Relient K is one of the most amazing and astounding bands, ever. I come from a Catholic family and was brought up in a Catholic way. My whole family knows about my addiction to Relient K and they see nothing wrong with it. I may have some different beliefs from the band but I totally understand the point in their music, about how they want to reach everyone and let everyone know about God's influence in each of our lives. I'm totally in love with Relient K.
I have many Christian friends and we all adore Relient K. It appeals not only to them but also to other Faiths who believe in God. This band is amazing with the power chords and really meaningful lyrics.. plus the catchy tunes that makes you wanna bob your head to the tune or tap your feet on the pavement. I really love the messages of their songs. More power to Relient K and God Bless! :]
i lurve relient k! | Reviewer: haley | 11/6/08
Wow where to begin. I think relientk is awesome and talented and awesomely talented! I think there message is cool and easy to relate to. MMHMM and 5 score and 7 years ago are the best albums everrrr!!!! I could listen to the best thing for 2 weeks straight!! love you guys!! ROCK ON MATTY T!!! God bless!!
Awesome | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/9/08
You kinow i love Relient K's music because its very uplifting and it helps me show that just because its a christian band does not meen its going tp be boring. It helps me with my witness so i can get them at least to try and plant the seed so they can do what they want with it.
Their clean!!!! | Reviewer: Brice | 9/19/08
I'm LDS or probly better know as a mormon but I like that there music does help people think about the savior.with all the crap music in the world it's nice to have something good and clean.
P.S yes mormons are Christians just in case you were wondering. :)
Catholic = Christian | Reviewer: Christine | 7/8/08
I really enjoy your music, and though I do not share your faith, I do share your appreciation for loud catchy guitars and singing in tune (something that I find many bands could use some work on). I actually got one of your CD's from a friend, and found myself really liking it without actually knowing that it was by a Christian band.
Also, I just wanted to say that Catholics ARE Christians. Catholocism is one branch of Christianity. Anyone who says that they are Catholic, but not Christian is mistaken. One can be Christian without being Catholic, but the reverse is not possible. Soem Catholics may wish to separate themselves from other Christians (ie. Protestants), but this does not make them not Christians. Instead, the claim might more accurately be described as being the only "true" Christians. This is all theoretical to me, but it is a great pet peeve of mine.
Relient K sounds unreal | Reviewer: Ted Foley | 2/1/08
I love all of your songs You made A good band The thing with that you made songs that can change I all ways listen to you the moment WE love Relient K sounds really Worshiping love to all songs Form the heart
My Love. | Reviewer: Rin~ | 12/27/07
I just learned of Relient K this year and has become a true addict. Yes, an addict. I'm not one for such bands but Relient K has got me hooked. I love how they express their Faith as Christians. I may not be a Christian (i'm a Catholic) but I don't see much of the difference. I believe in their songs and their Faith and I love how they write about it. I have these phases when it comes to music. One day, I'm in on opera, the next week in goth phase. But Relient K is my one true love. Luves to Relient K! God Bless!
...MMHMM... | Reviewer: Andrea | 12/5/07
I love relient k's music it is very positive for christian and none christians, it show everyone that there is hope in this world and that Being a Christian is not all about not having fun or joy in life, but actually having MORE fun and joy in life... i can't wait to hear more form this band...they're what i like to call wicked awsome! =)
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