Sound: Over a year and half after the release of "Forget And Not Slow Down", the Canton-based pop punk band Relient K has impressed fans, old and new, with a two-part covers EP that is fun and fresh. "K Is For Karaoke" has been an enjoyable listen all summer and fall, for me personally. Having been a long time fan of the band, to say that the sound of this EP is groundbreaking for Relient K's style would be a bit of an exaggeration. When listening, I could sense the same guitar tones found in much of the later work by this band. However, a few tracks stand out compared to the rest. The harmonizing and background vocals of tracks like "Africa" and "Crazy" are impressive in the least. A few more subdued songs should be mentioned. "Motorcycle Drive By" (Third Eye Blind) is an easy listening jam, and "You're The Inspiration" (Chicago) will satisfy the 1980's craving one may have. Fans may be dissatisfied if they're remaining partial to the original versions of these songs, because Relient K has changed things up quite a bit. It is evident they've added their own unique flair; noticeable when listening and comparing their previous releases. If possible, the listener should stream this EP with an open ear, enjoying these covers that certainly haven't fallen short. // 8
Lyrics: Lyrically nothing is original on this EP. Consisting of 14 covers by renowned artists, this EP is a great addition to any musical collection. Matthew Thiessen's dynamic voice is the perfect imitation of the original vocals in almost every track. Exceptions may be in the Gnarls Barkley cover of "Crazy". While this was by no means mediocre, Gnarls Barkley's singer Cee Lo Green voice is hard to impersonate. Personally, I thought this cover was excellent, while it is inevitable that fans of Gnarls Barkley will disagree.
To compensate, the "Baby" cover is sure to persuade any Bieber hater into singing along with this popular song. The positive twist that Relient K has put on these pop covers is magical. Perhaps the most vocally rewarding perk to listening to this EP are the supporting vocals of John Warne. The belting lines in the bridge of "Africa" are something I've found myself pressing repeat a dozen (actually, more like 50) times just to hear. Lyrically, a majority of these songs don't pique my interest, mostly because a lot of the phrases are cliche and forgettable. Yet, after listening to this EP, I am practically screaming along to songs by bands I never thought I would fully appreciate. The bland and redundant lyrics of certain tracks are brought to life by vocals that are inviting and envelop the listener. // 7
Overall Impression: I especially love the way Relient K has encouraged me to listen to more material by the artists they've covered. Holding high respect for these phenomenal musicians, I figure it's only to my benefit to further investigate the music of the artists they've loved enough to cover.
Truly, I think the only parts of this EP I disliked were the lyrics and when it ended. The reason I gave the lyric portion of this review a higher rating than I may have originally wanted to is because the vocals are exceptional, and remove any dislike for these songs. The combination of arpeggio guitar picking and Thiessen's seductive voice could entice even the most close minded of listeners.
The top 3 most impressive tracks (in my opinion) are by far: "Africa", "Motorcycle Drive By", and "One Headlight". I implore everyone reading this review to purchase a copy of this EP. Not only will you have the perfect "any time" jam, and continued respect for Relient K, but you may also appreciate the work of an artist you formerly disliked. // 9