"Five Score and Seven Years Ago" (Gotee / Capitol / EMI; 2007)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers


Relient K is Christian pop punk. The album title comes from the fact that this is their fifth CD in seven years. It’s also a play on the beginning line of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. And the first song is an a cappella track entitled, “Plead The Fifth.” The band is named after guitarist Matt Hoopes Plymouth Relient K car. Don’t worry, it doesn't get much goofier. Well, a little: There is also a twelve second song entitled “Crayons Can Melt On Us For All I Care.”

These guys have been around since 1998. They’ve plugged along and created some interesting music. I’m not a fan of pop punk but I hear their songs all the time on the radio so I’m starting to like them more each time. This disc has more hits than their previous effort, “Mmhmm,” which was released in 2004. T

This music is pretty safe for punk standards. You may have heard “Forgiven” on Christian radio but if you haven’t, you can probably find it on their MySpace page. I like this band and if you really like MXPX or Slick Shoes then you probably already know about Relient K. Their lyrics are snotty little jabs but with a Christian corner to help them recoup and say it with another angle. The music is full of catchy little guitar hooks and drums that would make any first chair in band want to practice more.

The closing track, “Deathbed,” clocks in at 11:05; it’s an epic song that has been compared to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and a few of The Who’s theatrical offerings. It doesn’t sound like the rest of the album so the creativity that punk music offers really gets expanded here. They dig down deep and don’t just all skate for a comfortable closing. The lyrics are hitting and you might be surprised at what they have to say.

The best tracks here are “I Need You,” “The Best Thing,” “Forgiven,” “Give Until There’s Nothing Left,” and “Bite My Tongue.”  

Relient K is: Matthew Thiessen – vocals, guitar, organs, piano, French horn, trombone, trumpet, euphonium, Penny whistle, percussion and toy piano; Matthew Hoopes – guitar, banjo, mandolin and vocals; Dave Douglas – drums and vocals; John Varne – bass and vocals; Jonathan Schneck – guitar and vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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