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07 August 2006

Relient K is currently recording the follow-up to 2004’s mmhmm, their third consecutive Gold album, with producer Howard Benson (Less Than Jake, My Chemical Romance, the All-American Rejects). Once they wrap up recording, the band will head out on the fourth annual Nintendo Fusion tour, which will hit 40 cities nationwide between September 27th and November 11th.

“We’re kind of like Laffy Taffy,” says Relient K lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Thiessen when asked to describe the as-yet untitled album, due out this coming November. “It’s the same flavor but we try to stretch it a little bit. It’s still melodic, it’s still rock ’n’ roll, still a lot of dynamics – there’re times when it’s heavy, there’re times when it’s real chilled with piano and what-not. But at the same time, we’re trying to write a bit differently, lyrically.”

There are numerous other differences between the upcoming album and Relient K’s four previous records. “We wanted to work with Howard,” explains Thiessen, “Howard’s done a lot of records that I listen to.” It also marks their first full-length album featuring bassist John Warne and Jon Schneck, who plays guitar, banjo and bells – although the two appeared on the band’s Apathetic EP, released in late 2005. With original guitarist Matt Hoopes and drummer Dave Douglas completing the lineup, Relient K is now a quintet with each of the members contributing vocals – so expect even more of the band’s trademark harmonies this go-round. This is also the first album they’ve recorded with the luxury of a pre-production period, and with the band now living “all over the place,” as Hoopes describes, pre-production time was a necessary luxury.

“Matt and Dave still live in Ohio. Me and Jon Schneck live in Nashville, about three blocks away from each other,” says Hoopes. “And John Warne, our bass player, lives in Denver, so it’s a little crazy.”

mmhmm, Relient K’s first joint Gotee Records/Capitol release, debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200 and at #1 on the internet chart. It has subsequently been certified Gold as have the band’s previous two albums, 2003’s Grammy-nominated Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…But Three Do and 2001’s The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek. mmhmm met with widespread critical acclaim and its two hit singles – “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” – both reached the upper half of the Top 40. The past two years have been a blur of activity with Relient K touring non-stop – highlights have included an arena/amphitheatre tour with Good Charlotte and Simple Plan, a co-headlining tour with MXPX and a main stage slot on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour – and a string of television appearances, including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as well as MTV’s “TRL,” “Hard Rock Live” and “Summer on the Strip from Las Vegas.”

Fans will get a sneak preview of Relient K’s new material when the band returns to the road with the Nintendo Fusion tour in September. “We’ll probably play two to three new songs, so people can get an idea of what the record sounds like,” promises Thiessen. “It’ll be a cool tour.”

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