Man alive, that Mathew Thiessen is a beautiful boy. He’s all beestung lips, unfeasibly large soulful eyes and a mop of hair that puts one in mind of a cockerspaniel puppy. Matthew is the lovely lead singer and pianist of Christian Pop Punkers, Relient K (pronounced “Reliant” because talent is no guarantee of a good education). I mention his loveliness not just because I’m sick of the Anglicans getting all the attention and think we Baptists could do with a few good rifts and schisms to boost our ratings, but because I never expect pretty-boys to be very talented. It seems unfair. I’m okay with boy-band boys being bedroom-wal-poster-friendly because I can mutter under my breath that yeah, they’re hot, but they can’t read or write, can they?
Relient K’s latest offering, the Apathetic EP, proves that attitude wrong and shows that 2004’s brilliant full length album, mmhmm was no fluke. Like mmhmm, Apathetic features some great Pop Punk (think Blink 182 with Busted’s producer and a youth-group to run), and double A-sides The Truth and Apathetic Way To Be are foot-stomping returns to form. Musically they are a return to a purer Punk sound, abandoning the Emo edge on the previous album, while the lyrics take the listener in unexpectedly thoughtful and grown-up directions. What seems like teenage posturing on the almost eponymous Apathetic’ (“half of me is all about apathy and the other half just doesn’t care”) turns out to be a call to examine our faithless priorities and attitudes (“all of us can at times be too uptight… possibly the remedy is a dose of apathy”) and a righteous assertion of independence and freedom of conscience (stand up, good Baptist! Salute!).
The rest is, unfortunately, pretty obvious filler. Acoustic versions of previous tracks (admittedly good) and piano ballads (not so good – even Chris Martin would consider these a bit whiney) bring it to seven tracks. I’m tempted to say that this is only really for Relient K fans, but just the chorus of Apathetic Way To Be would be enough to make fans of the deaf.