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Apathetic EP

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Nov
Apathetic EP
Sounds like … the punk rock and power pop of MxPx and Jimmy Eat World, with some acoustic rock renditions of previous Relient K songs and a couple of Ben Folds-styled piano pop tracks.At a glance … offering songs both old and new, Apathetic is an enjoyable and well-executed mix of styles, but not all fans will appreciate Relient K's continually maturing sound.Track Listing The Truth Apathetic Way to Be Be My Escape (acoustic) Which to Bury, Us or the Hatchet (acoustic) Over Thinking (acoustic) In Like a Lion (Always Winter) The Thief

Successful bands like Relient K can't release music fast enough for their fans, or their record labels. So to continue riding the momentum of the Gold-certified mmHmm album, and furthering the band's tradition for releasing little morsels between their full-length projects, we have the Apathetic EP to whet our appetites.

With only 24 minutes of music, it's surprising this mini-album has enough time to be so mixed. Apathetic begins with the band's familiar punk pop/rock style for the first two songs: "The Truth," about wrestling with unbelief, and "Apathetic Way to Be," previously included on the vinyl release ofmmHmm. Both are strictly business-as-usual for Relient K, which isn't bad for a band this good, but they do sound a tad recycled.

More interesting are three acoustic renditions of songs from the last two albums because they're such a sonic departure. You wouldn't expect hard and angry rocker "Which to Bury …" to be successfully reinterpreted as straightforward acoustic pop. Confessional prayer "Be My Escape" remains catchy, instrumented with acoustic guitar and mandolin-and oddly reminiscent of '90s Canadian band Hokus Pick. Particularly striking is "Over Thinking," transformed into easy-going piano pop similar to Ben Folds. Speaking of which, the final two tracks are also piano pop ballads. Melancholic morsel "The Thief" is fine, but better is "In Like a Lion (Always Winter)," a beautiful ode to a snow-oppressed Narnia and the hope that Aslan/Christ offers. (Apparently it didn't work out for inclusion on the musical compilation for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Fans who have grown disappointed with Relient K's increasingly mature sound will continue to grumble over an EP that relies more on piano pop and ballads than the band's signature silly rockers-this is the disc that parents of fans will enjoy the most. But others will appreciate that Relient K sounds less raucous and more eclectic with their music. It's enjoyable for what it is, but responses to Apathetic will surely vary with expectations.

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