If you've ever been to a concert with some young, inexperienced bands, you may have heard a band who just wasn't quite ready to perform songs of their own. Instead, these bands play "covers" of songs by other bands. This can be a good crowd pleaser, because they will be more likely to recognize the song, but it also lacks any sort of originality.
I first listened to All Work and No Play after already hearing Relient K's debut album. At first listen, I almost had to check the label to make sure that the disc was actually by Relient K, not a different band playing covers of their self-titled debut. You see, with a couple exceptions, this record is basically an unpolished version of the band's Gotee Records debut. That said, let's take a look at how it turned out.
If I were looking at this record from the perspective of someone who had never heard Relient K before, I would at least credit them with talent and definite potential. Aside from that, not a whole lot can be said about this indie album. Matt Thiessen sounds completely different, and the Relient K feel just isn't there yet. The songs from this album that were left off the band's self-titled release are nothing unique; adversely, the songs on the self-titled disc not present here are some of the band's finest from their early years (i.e. "Hello McFly," "Wake Up Call"). Thus, the disc is mediocre at best, and while not without its high points ("Softer To Me" is still very well done), it is obvious the band has come a long way.
If you are able to obtain a copy of this rare disc, consider yourself lucky. It does serve as a great collector's item and gives a glimpse of what the band was like before they exploded onto the CCM scene in 2000. If you're looking for more songs like "Be My Escape" or "My Girl's Ex-Boyfriend," don't look here. But if you are searching for a rare, fun CD from the early days of Relient K, hunt this down and check it out. Just don't expect a Dove award winning debut.- Review date: 1/20/05, written by Spencer Priest
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