Continuing the tradition begun with The Creepy EP and furthered with Employee of the Month, Relient K has readied the release of a "middle disc" between full length projects. This time, it's entitled Apathetic EP, named not only because of the track "Apathetic Way to Be" contained herein, but also because of the overtly melancholy tone most of the disc takes. The album cover furthers the notion, with a dark backdrop and the sun being covered by rain clouds. So the pensive mood is set from the start, but how does the actual album fair?
The album begins with the new single, "The Truth." A hint of difference from the sound of mmhmm is evident, but almost undetectable. It would be safe to say that if would have fit nicely on mmhmm. It's fast and catchy and has the word "hit" written all over it. Lyrically, it deals with our inability at times to believe The truth that we are intellectually inept, and just need to hand our lives over to God.
Originally released on the vinyl version of mmhmm through Mono Vs. Stereo, "Apathetic Way to Be" follows after the lead track. Whereas "The Truth" has a bit more meat to it, "Apathetic Way to Be" (as you can guess from the title) is a bit more fun and witty. "Half of me is all about apathy, and the other half just doesn't care," Matt Thiessen sings as he tells of our generation's willingness to disregard rather than commit to anything.
With the more upbeat portion of the album finished, the EP moves into three acoustic tracks. "Be My Escape" and "Which to Bury, Us or the Hatchet?" from mmhmm, and "Overthinking" from Two Left Don't Make a Right… but Three Do. All three are masterfully executed. Thiessen's voice is haunting on the stripped down versions, and it makes you wish they would try the idea more often.
Next up is a song actually inspired by C. S. Lewis' classic The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, entitled "In Like A Lion (Always Winter)." Perhaps it was turned down for the upcoming film's soundtrack? Possibly, but it is a pleasant song with a cheery Christmas aura to it. Not too fast, but not too slow, it relates the tale of the book to the reality that God is always with us.
The EP finished with "The Thief," which showed up not too long ago on Matt Thiessen and the Earthquakes' Pure Volume page online. It consists of nothing more than Thiessen and his piano. And in typical Earthquake style, the song is an ode to broken love. It clocks in at just over two minutes and feels strangely short. It's a nice song, but just seems the slightest bit out of place, even considering that it complies with the overall mood of the project.
It has been a year since mmhmm released, and fans that have worn out that disc now have one more to sink their teeth into. Relient K has yet to do anything that has not exceedingly impressed me, and Apathetic EP is no exception. With it, they prove they are capable of balancing depth with catchy hooks and happy tunes with acoustic swagger. Fans of the boys from Canton, Ohio cannot go wrong with this latest edition to the Relient K library.- Review date: 11/09/05, written by Josh Taylor
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