Words by Leigh Eron
Relient K has released another new album, their seventh studio album, Collapsible Lung. The band had been working hard on the album since 2011 when their last, a cover album, was released. After some challenges with changes in their record label, Relient K and fans alike were excited to hear new music.
Collapsible Lung starts right off with “Don’t Blink,” a song that clearly draws on the success the band has had not only as a rock band but also as a Christian rock band. The music is true to the steady rock of Relient K, and the lyrics create a feel good message that propels you into the rest of the album.
“Boomerang,” “Lost Boy,” and “Can’t Complain” are catchy and definitely qualify as summer hits. These songs focus more on hooking their listeners with easy beats, whistling and snapping, and less on a sort of lyrical prowess. In this way, they are definitely different from past Relient K songs, and some fans may be wary of the changes made. Still, the songs are fun and good in their own right as perhaps a new vision for Relient K.
From the start, “Gloria” has a different pace than other songs on Collapsible Lung. With an emphasis on the harsher guitar sounds, “Gloria” brings back the rock rather than the poppy feel. Matt Thiessen’s strained vocals also remind listeners of not only older Relient K, but older rock and roll influences, as well.
“PTL” is one of the weaker tracks on the new album. The musical talent is there, and you even get to hear Thiessen’s vocal range, but the lyrics grow corny and fall flat—the song title itself stands for “part time lover.” Where it is placed on the album, “PTL” also feels like one pop song too many, until you get to “Disaster.” By themselves, the songs are still fun, but “Disaster” especially feels a bit over done. The additional horns and instruments don’t seem to fit for this particular rock band, but again, Relient K is exploring new territory with Collapsible Lung.
“When You Were My Baby” is redeeming in the sense that it is subtler, particularly in its catchier, poppy side. The guitar and drums sound more natural and flow well as a rock song. “Sweeter” and “Collapsible Lung” continue this slowed pace, and it’s no wonder Relient K saved the best for last. “Collapsible Lung,” especially, is a gem, drawing on music and lyrics fit for the Grammy nominated band. The musical talent is pure and the lyrics are exemplary of who Relient K are.
It feels almost as if the band was using Collapsible Lung to explore themselves and their music. By ending with their title song, you see that they are comfortable in their own skin after having shared their journey with fans throughout this unique album.
You can download the album today on iTunes.