Say Anything

Anarchy, My Dear

Written by: TL on 25/03/2012 16:27:17

When Say Anything put out their self-titled fourth album it was, in my eyes at least, the culmination of the band's career. Bouncing back from the (overly?) ambitious double album "In Defense Of The Genre", "Say Anything" sounded like the band finally decided to focus and write the tightest, most potent album they possibly could, succeeding at creating one of the very best pop-rock records I've heard in my life. For any band that manages a record of such superior quality however, the question is going to be "what's next", and instead of extending their collaboration with Sony Music subsidiary RCA Records Say Anything have opted to step back 'down' to an indie label, releasing their fifth LP "Anarchy, My Dear" on Equal Vision.

On this new album, frontman Max Bemis and his crew are in essence up to tricks similar to the ones they've consistently relied on throughout their career, mixing the dry wit from geek-rock bands like Weezer and Piebald with the sensitivity of early emo/pop/punk pioneers like Saves The Day and Motion City Soundtrack. As opposed to on their earlier work however, the lyrics which are given so much focus on any Say Anything album, sees Bemis having grown out of his usual self-depreciating manner somewhat, and here he turns his bitter remarks outwards more than ever before.

This is felt especially in songs like "Burn A Miracle", "Sheep", "Peace Out" and "Admit It Again". The latter provides a sequel to the band's original hit "Admit It", yet while its lyrics are as pointy and memorable as is customary for Bemis, the overall attitude is the kind of self-righteous punk that tip-toes the border between what's endearing and what's slightly annoying. Similarly "Burn A Miracle" - another track pegged from the beginning to be an album highlight given its choice as first single - is a slightly underwhelming effort due to it's manic, un-melodic chorus.

Fortunately though, Bemis has a band behind him that understand how to supply a musical backdrop that can tuck at the listeners' heartstrings even when the singer himself is allowing us the most unrestricted looks into his darker sides. "Sheep" thus offers a hymn to individuality that's oddly danceable and vulnerable at the same time, while "Peace Out" is thoroughly bitter in its nasty way of saying "I'm over you". And it's not all unmixed vitriol either, as proven by "So Good" and "Overbiter", which are equipped with melodies respectively yearning and bright enough to provide striking contrast to the constant presence of doublesidedness in Bemis' lyrics and delivery.

Those are already four positive impressions to two slightly underwhelming ones, and there are more to boot, as exemplied by "Say Anything", which makes another winner with it's bouncy tempo being reminiscent of another of the band's classics, "Alive With The Glory Of Love", and by "Night's Song", which provides the most tenderly captivating chorus the record has to offer. So while the record overall is not as tightly packed with goodness as its predecessor, and while I'm not sure it serves the lyrics how Bemis's newfound contentment is messing with the old tendency of him lashing himself for everytime he lashes out, this is still a record that deserves to be judged by more than its first single. For that, the charismatic delivery of Bemis and the unique pop/rock/punk of his band is simply too unique, because there's currently nobody like them to provide lovable tunes for self-absorbed romantic dorks of all ages.


Download: Night's Song, So Good, Sheep, Say Anything
For The Fans Of: Saves The Day, Motion City Soundtrack, Two Tongues, Weezer, Piebald

Release Date 13.03.2012
Equal Vision Records

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