Max Bemis and his gang of sidekicks might be the essence of what music is today, and with their new self-titled album, they prove once again why they deserve that title.
With “Is A Real Boy” conceived originally as a concept record, and their follow-up “In Defense of the Genre”, a double-disc homage to some of their favorite bands, Say Anything is a definite forerunner in their respective genre.
Their self-titled fourth album seemingly aims to dial down the antics a bit, though not lacking in what makes the band Say Anything, and as the album title implies, focuses more on the band itself without additional accompaniments.
There are a few components that one comes to expect from a Say Anything album release, and the most notable being Bemis’ use of sardonically humorous, yet highly self-deprecating and emotionally interwoven lyrics. And while not as dark and twisted as previous albums, due most likely to the fact Bemis was recently married to Sherri Dupree, of the band Eisley, the aforementioned lyrical styles are still present in this album.
Though sometimes very tongue-in-cheek, Bemis’ lyrics aren’t always out to shock, and there are many lyrical references inside the album that show Bemis’ maturity as a writer. For instance, the uplifting spirit of “Do Better” comments on the irony of life: “Life is not a spark in space/An episode of Will and Grace/Controversial yet mundane/Deborah’s messing with your brain.”
Bemis previously told Alternative Press that the album is “a record that tells a story of becoming a grown-up, sort of, and starting to stand up for yourself and noticing things that are bigger than yourself.” This lyrical theme doesn’t lie too deep in the inner workings of the album, and show how much Bemis and the band itself has evolved from its previous album in 2007.
Aside from the obvious lyrical genius of Bemis, we get an odd mixture of every musical genre you can think of, like most Say Anything albums, such as the melancholy pop rock of “Eloise”, “Hate Everyone” with its Clash-like resemblence, or the electro-pop of “Crush’d”. And the band is used to having multiple genres in a single song, such as “Mara and Me”, which starts with a Circus-like merri-go-round track and evolves into a guitar driven ending, making Say Anything as sporadic as ever.
The guitar work throughout the album has seen a definite upgrade, with squeals and harmonics in solos (and at other random times), and fluxuate nicely througout. These new characteristics are definitely a welcoming factor in all areas, and add a new range to the band’s immense musical expressions.
Overall, the album is spectacular. Its lyrics are remarkable with the musicianship of the band is at an all time high and the sound is some of the most impressive ever produced by the band.
Say Anything has put together an album of songs that seems fit to have a self-titled name, and, in doing so, reestablishes who they are as a band. Though some may miss their older material with its highly provocative and abusive punk-attitude, their newest music is definitely some of the finest ever produced by the band, and is the epitome of what an album should be.