Relient releases unfocused effort

The Bird and the Bee Sides isn’t your little sister’s Relient K album.

It’s divided up into two parts, Part 1 comprised of 13 new songs titled The Nashville Tennis EP and Part 2, The Bird and the Bee Sides, consisting of rarities, demo tracks and b-sides. The band has grown from its days as a group that could have easily been part of the Drive Thru Records explosion of the early 2000s.

"Where Do I Go From Here" begins with a twangy country riff followed by a burst of drums furiously fueling one of Relient K’s fastest songs. "The Scene And Herd" is a catchy rocker that has been winning over fans at Vans Warped Tour.

"The crowd really likes (‘The Scene and Herd’)," drummer Ethan Luck said. "It is really cool to look up from my drum set and see the kids sing along to the new songs already".

"The Last, The Lost, The Least" and "The Lining Is Silver" are two of the album’s strongest tracks, showing maturity in musicianship and lyrics. After those songs, the album takes a weird turn.

Relient K goes through an identity crisis on the latter half of The Nashville Tennis EP portion of the album. "There Was No Thief" sounds like a piano ballad done by New Kids on the Block. "No Reaction" sounds like an MxPx song, while "Beaming" feels like the Beach Boys. The band takes a stab at country and succeeds on "You’ll Always Be My Best Friend," but fails with the joke song "Bee Your Man."

The Bee Sides kick in with an acoustic version of "Up And Up" and the smart pop-punk anthem, "Wit’s All Been Done Before." "The Vinyl Countdown" is a nice ode to the days of the record player and the 7-inch. An acoustic version of hit-single "Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been" and a ska-version of "Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead Or Dying" are nice additions.

The Bee Sides portion is a must-have for fans of the band, and makes the listener easily forget the unmemorable newer material from The Nashville Tennis EP. Relient K should stick to its strengths in writing modern pop rock and leave the piano songs to Elton John.

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