Even as pop-punk struggles through these post-Blink days -- overwhelmed as it is with imitation and riffs stale enough for a Fox sitcom -- faint rays of light shine forth.
Leaving the redemptive symbolism to Sunday-morning preachers, Relient K -- those prodigious Christian rockers from Canton -- excel at creating hook-encased guitar that runs like a powerline through the crisp arrangements and frontman Matt Theissen's ebullient vocals. Songs like "Must Have Done Something Right," from the new album Five Score and Seven Years Ago, and the bounding "High of 75" are so catchy, in fact, that they could've been written by Fountains of Wayne (if the K had been raised on SoCal punk pioneers the Descendents). Indeed, there's a naive hope and simple joy running through this music that's reminiscent of "Stacy's Mom."
Not that it's all shiny and happy; Relient K has recorded more than its share of breakup songs and tales of self-flagellation: "Which to Bury: Us or the Hatchet," "Who I Am Hates Who I've Been," and so on. Hell, even the saved can be broken (and vice versa).