Relient K - Mmhmm (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Relient K

Mmhmm (2004)


As derivative as it is, Relient K's symmetrically-titled Mmhmm is still a mostly solid batch of major label pop-punk, if there ever was such a thing, and is a fair accomplishment for a 14-track / 50-minute effort of the genre, creative enough to hold its own. It's a wonder to see how a band can put out annual offerings like they do and avoid filler, but the band's fourth proper full-length manages it for the most part, never going too poppy or whiny, and is helped by crisp if not questionable production.

The band does a lot of little things that either work in favor of themselves or unintentionally disgust the listener. "The Only Thing Worse Than Beating A Dead Horse Is Betting On One" is a fitful minute of Lagwagon-inspired skate punk complete with an acoustic strummed bridge and hyperactively-sung verses, and its preceding track "I So Hate Consequences" is a ridiculously catchy number. The small bit of screaming in the latter is a bit tasteless, however. "More Than Useless" contains a minute synthesizer lick á la New Found Glory's "Failure Not Flattering," and, without prior knowledge of Relient K's past material just seems like silly tryouts at throwing in details from the latest trends. Still, any said usage the band partakes in is rare, and seems forced from some above power. The banjo use in "Which To Bury, Us Or The Hatchet" (also containng a dose of background screams) pretty much kills the relatively serious mood the song attempts conveying. "Let It All Out" and "When I Go Down" are pretty much throwaway ballads.

In continuation with the band's last effort (besides the Christmas album), Two Lefts Don't Make A Right..., the lyrics abandon a lot of the blatant Christian content in favor of masked values and morals, not to mention significantly lessening the cheese factor. "High Of 75" is probably the worst the band gets: "But now I'm sunny with a high of 75 / since you took my heavy heart and made it light" or "and the temperature is freezing / and then after dark / there's a cold front / sweeping in over my heart." Still, it's nothing nearly as eye-rolling as Marilyn Manson eating your girlfriend.

For the band themselves it seems like a landmark effort. They've managed to slowly mature over the years, lyrically anyway, but it especially shows this time around. The sugary choruses here sound pretty similar, and it's nothing new by a longshot, but Mmhmm is a moderately enjoyable effort, as opposed to how irritating some of their contemporaries can be.