May 5, 2010 CD Reviews
“The First Three Gears (2000-2003)”
Grade – B
Relient K started back in 2000 and after releasing six full-length studio albums, they decided to re-release their first three albums in a nostalgic packaging with a few added hard-to-find tracks.
The first disc is Relient K’s self-titled release. It’s interesting to listen through and see how far the band has progressed since. The songs have all been remastered to have clearer guitars and vocals, making it more pleasant to listen to than the original. The two bonus tracks on the disc are a live version of “Breakdown” and an acoustic version of “Softer To Me”. The rendition of “Breakdown” is decent, although rather difficult to understand. The “Softer To Me (Acoustic)” however is definitely worth a listen. The lyrics seem more heartfelt and meaningful, and provide a chance to hear the softer side of Matt Thiessen’s vocals. The second disc features remastered versions of all the songs from “Anatomy of the Tongue In Cheek” and three extra songs. “Operation” is reminiscent of “Wake Up Call” from the band’s first album, and talks about God doing an operation to change our hearts. The “Jefferson Aero Plane” demo version is the same as the version on Relient K’s recent EP “The Bird And The Bee Sides and The Nashville Tennis EP”. It’s a quieter twist on the original song, taking out some of the quirky lyrics and replacing them with a singable chorus. The “Pressing On (Back Porch Acoustic)” is a rendition only Relient K could think up. Not only is it an acoustic, but they take the ‘back porch’ theme very seriously, including in the background music windchimes, screen doors, and all assortment of outdoor sounds. The third disc has all the songs from “Two Lefts Don’t Make A Right…But Three Do!” complete with a surprising last song, but no bonus tracks.
After twelve years, Relient K has decided to release their first three CDs together in one package. For new fans, it is well worth the money spent to hear the older, more pop-punk side of Relient K. For die-hard fans, however, there isn’t much to see here; the ‘unreleased’ songs are the same versions as on the hard-to-find EPs from the band’s start. Though, for those who haven’t heard these albums or don’t own the actual copies of them, this release is well-worth a listen to tide you over until the band puts out a new release.
Tags: Relient K