Relient K "Air For Free"
by Michael Tackett (CMADDICT ) on 2016-06-03 17:42:55

If you were ever in a church youth group in the early 2000’s someone eventually mentioned the band Relient K to you. Back then Relient K was an anomaly in Christian Music. They had catchy melodies with sometimes-whacky lyrics, which settled in-between thought provoking tracks. With each new record lead vocalist and lead writer, Matt Thiessen somehow conveyed the emotional and mental state of their fan base. (Even if he wasn’t trying to) In 2013 they released Collapsible Lung, which left many underwhelmed by its lyrical content. For the first time, the band used outside co-writers, which resulted in songs that didn’t have the same witty flow as anything they had done previously. Three years later, with the dust settled, Relient K returns to their glory days with their seventh record Air For Free.

Air For Free carries us through a very moving musical experience as the band reflects on lost youth, God, falling in love and becoming an adult. Musically the record sounds more like their fifth record, Forget and Not Slow Down. (The only thing it has in common with it) Lyrically is the most “Relient Kish” record since 5 score and 7 years ago. (That record was released almost 10 years ago!!!)

What’s always been amazing is that Relient K’s slower tracks are sometimes even more impressive than their more guitar driven songs. Previous efforts like “For Moments I Feel Faint” and “Getting Into You” hold moments of the vulnerability in one's self while seeking spiritual, Godly, guidance in an almost prayer like form. Air For Free continues this trend with such songs as “God” and “Prodigal”. In “Prodigal” Matt sings about being the prodigal son and struggling with faith in this world. Thiessen sings “Sweet Jesus, I was coming to pray/ But Lord, I've been so busy and I've kept you away".

For those looking for the tongue and cheek songs that Relient K is known for Air For Free offers plenty to go around. Songs like Mrs. Hippopotamuses, Elephant Parade, Cat, and Local Construction all offer fun songs that easily fit in Relient K cannon. “Local Construction”, a highlight, is a clever song that compares local construction with one's own inner “local construction”. An odd song, Empty House, offers a ballad in complete autotune. Lyrically it fits but the autotune very much overshadows the song and makes it a very bizarre and feels out of place. However out of 16 tracks, it’s the only one in the mix like that so by the end it's forgiven.

Overall Air for Free is lyrically and musically a welcome return to form for Relient K. The band continues to grow musically and lyrically while still sprinkling their tongue and cheek formula that made their fans first love them so many years ago. If you thought Relient K of your youth was over think again. They are alive and well but just a bit older now…like the rest of us.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Pop Rock
Label: mono VS stereo
Release Date: July 22, 2016
Buy it: Amazon - iTunes

Local Construction
Mrs. Hippopotamuses'
Air for Free
Elephant Parade
Empty House


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