Album Review :
Relient K - The Birds and The Bee Sides / The Nashville Tennis EP

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Artist: Relient K

Album: The Nashville Tennis EP and The Bird And The Bee Sides

Release Date: 7/1/2008

Label: Gotee Records

Reviewer: Tyler Hess

The Nashville Tennis EP

1. Where Do I Go From Here

2. The Scene And Herd

3. At Least We Made It This Far

4. The Last, The Lost, The Least

5. The Lining Is Silver

6. There Was No Thief

7. No Reaction

8. Curl Up And Die

9. You’ll Always Be My Best Friend

10. There Was Another Time In My Life

11. Beaming

12. I Just Want You To Know

13. Bee Your Man
The Bird And The Bee Sides

14. Up And Up (Acoustic)

15. Wits All Been Done Before

16. The Vinyl Countdown

17. For The Band

18. Nothing Without You

19. A Penny Loafer Saved Is A Penny
Loafer Earned

20. Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead Or Dying
(Ska Version)

21. Five Iron Frenzy Is Either Dead Or Dying
(Acoustic Version)

22. Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been (Acoustic)

23. Here I Go (Demo)

24. The Stenographer (Demo)

25. Jefferson Aeroplane (Demo)

26. Hope For Every Fallen Man (Acoustic)

You can judge an album by its cover all you want, but don’t judge a band by its B-sides. If you are looking to see what direction Relient K is taking or if you want to check out this band for the first time, this simply isn’t for you. This 26 track disk is quite simply for those who already love Relient K and can’t get enough of them, wanting everything they have had their hands on.

Let’s start off with the Nashville Tennis EP. These 13 songs fit the title well, with a more laid back, kind of folksy Relient K that we aren’t really used to. Matthew Thiessen still has the same with and charm of the past, but they have a more melancholy tone to them that we aren’t as accustomed to. The hard thing about both sides of this album is that it is simply hard to get into a groove. There are a ton of great songs, but they don’t fit as a cohesive whole. On the EP, the songs that are written by Thiessen would work very well together as an album, if only they weren’t disjointed by the songs written by the other band members. You see, each of the guys in the band wrote their own song to put onto this album. They are all good songs, but the problem is that they just don’t fit very well with the rest of the songs. It isn’t the end of the world, it is just something for the die hard fans, the ones that will love them no matter what, because they are still great songs. For anyone who was a fan of John Warne’s Ace Troubleshooter band, you have “The Last, The Lost, The Least”. If you miss the OC Supertones, well there is “No Reaction” from Ethan Luck. Overall, there are some very good songs, just not necessarily a very well put together album, but that wasn’t necessarily the point.

Moving onto The Bird And The Bee Sides, if you thought the EP was a little hard to follow, the B-sides is like having a combination of demos and throw outs from all their albums, then hitting the “random” button on your mp3 player. These songs make for a fun game of “remember when Relient K sounded like…” If you didn’t jump on the Relient K bandwagon early on, you might have missed many of these songs from their early EP’s, or you may have wondered what some of their songs would sound like acoustically. Like I said, this isn’t for a first time listener, if you are that then go listen to all of their old albums first (except the self-titled one, do not waste your time with it unless you just HAVE to know exactly how far they have come in the last eight or nine years).

Overall, there are just so many good songs out of the 26 tracks, that I would recommend this to any serious Relient K fan. From the EP I would start off with “The Scene and Herd”, “The Lining is Silver” and “There Was No Thief” as being the most memorable. From the B-sides, I am absolutely in love with “The Vinyl Countdown”, but cannot cope with the “Jefferson Aeroplane” demo not measuring up to its finished product, one of my favorite Relient K songs.

In the end, there are some great, classic, cheesy, witty, clever, everything you expect Relient K might be at some point in their careers songs on this project, so if you really like Relient K, this is worth the price of admission. If you don’t know much about this band, I’d direct you to “MMHMM” as their best record to date. Now if you’ll excuse me, I‘m about to get in a fight with a stenographer.