Dealing with heartbreak, love in Princeton

Relient K
“Forget and Not Slow Down”
4.5/5 Stars

By Bobby Olivier
Managing Editor

600pxrelientkforgetandnSpawned from vocalist Matt Thiessen’s heartbreak and a long Thoreau-esque stay at a Tennessee lake house, Relient K’s fifth studio album, “Forget and Not Slow Down” is a no doubt mood-maker, despite its more somber origins.

“This is an album written immediately after a relationship that after four years didn’t work out and there was a lot of different emotional aspects to deal with, and how to deal with the whole thing was to get over it and be positive about it,” Theissen said.

Thiessen may have had to pour his heart and soul into this album, but what he and the rest of the group have created is an all-encompassing breath of fresh air that will remain in many lungs and minds after the final notes are heard.

Relient K has matured significantly from its “Be My Escape” days, and with catchy and upbeat, well, everything, its latest cut oozes cool optimism. Moving on from past negative experiences is the overlying theme, and uplifting lyrics lead the way in one of this year’s top pop-rock records. Thiessen specified that “Forget and Not Slow Down” is not a “break-up album,” but a “how-to-deal-with-a-break-up album.”

Key Tracks: “Forget and not slow down,” “Candlelight,” “Savannah.”

Princeton
“Cocoon of Love”
4.5/5 Stars

By Chris Payne
WTSR Music Director

cocoonoflovePrinceton sound like a Wes Anderson film. Not just the soundtrack, but the movie itself. They sing of flawed, quirky characters, allusions to history and literature, and fleeting poignancy. Of course they’re a bit ostentatious. They named themselves after an Ivy League college and write about books that make you feel smarter just by flipping through them. But Princeton’s full length debut of breezy indie pop rises to the occasion amidst lofty aspirations.

“Cocoon of Love” subscribes to the Vampire Weekend school of indie rock. While it  remains contemporary, it works off an expansive palette of influences from years past. They use strings, but not in a supplemental way as most of their contemporaries. “Sylvie” sounds like it could’ve been written as an orchestral piece and only fitted with chirps of guitar as a closing thought. Even their simplest moments, such as the “I love you, let’s shout it out” hook of “Shout It Out” are wrapped in swirling casings of instrumentation that suggest the shear breadth of their influences.

“Cocoon of Love” is a brilliant debut that could have sat between The Kinks and Simon and Garfunkel in the ’60 just as effortlessly as it will undoubtedly be grouped with indie pop acts Ra Ra Riot and Andrew Bird. An essential, yet still very underground listen for autumn ’09.

Key Tracks: “Sadie & Andy,” “Calypso Gold.”