As I usually do with CDs that I find decent but not necessarily as good as they could be (or in more of the case with Relient K, just not my thing), I usually remark at the end of the review that I will be looking forward to the future of these artists with great anticipation. I usually find that their debut has potential, but leaves room for growth. I felt, with the first several listens of their sophomore album The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, that the growth I've been looking in Relient K was already beginning to show in just their second release. Is the fun still there? Of course. Is the writing musically and lyrically more mature? Definitely. Is there still room for growth? Isn't there always?
The CD kicks off with... "Kick-Off," a short, fast punk intro serving basically as a 'we're back with more music' statement. "Pressing On" is the first track that really emits feelings of growth and maturity for the band. With only a year and a half since their successful debut in April of 2000, it almost sounds as if there were 2 or 3 years between records. The pop punk-driven song encourages the listener to press on and go with God. "Sadie Hawkins Dance," a song that lead singer and chief song-writer Matt Thiessen describes as "the most pointless song ever, but it's fun," follows, a bouncy pop punk tune that will prove to be a fan favorite in no time. The band's a lot more serious on "Down in Flames," acknowledging the painfully true scene of Christians vs. Christians in what the song describes as a "Christian civil war." "Christians, we mourn, the thorn is stuck in the side of the body. Watch it self-destruct. The enemy is much ignored when we fight this Christian civil war. We're cannibals. We watch our brothers fall. We eat our own, the bones and all... we're going down in flames."
"Maybe It's Maybeline" attacks the 'who's to blame?' question, as we always accuse other people and never accept the blame ourselves. The song urges, "The truth is, excuses are lame. Accept consequence. Accept the blame. We're all sinners. We're all unclean. Maybe we're born with it. Or maybe it's Maybeline." "Those Words are Not Enough" serves as a pop rock worship song, a first for the band. Thiessen explains, "It was new for us, because while we like praise and worship stuff, we'd never written it. It's definitely changing our relationship with the audience in concert, making it a more personal thing." "Those Words are Not Enough" is an album highlight and a good step for the band. "For the Moments I Feel Faint" serves as an acoustic worship song as well, while the album's closer "Less is More" slows it down even more for a worship ballad.
The fun and pointless tracks continue with the highlight tribute to the 80's cartoon show Thundercats in "I'm Lion-O." "May the Horse Be with You" is a random song about... horses, while "Breakfast at Timpani's" is a brief spot that pokes fun at the obvious, and "Lion Wilson" is a short accapella vocal spot with seemingly no point to it. Is all this 'pointless' material a hindrance? Not at all. It keeps the fun side of the album alive and it mixes well with the more serious songs of "Those Words Are Not Enough" and "What Have You Been Doing Lately?"
Not perfect, while still feeling just a little bit too youthful for some of the older crowd, but a leap above their debut, Relient K has created a sophomore album that is worth checking out by RK fans and non alike.- Review date: 8/19/01, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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