Monday, March 19, 2012

Album Review: Say Anything - Anarchy, My Dear (2012)

Say Anything are a band who does the opposite of what you think they're going to do. For example, when they have an album titled, Anarchy, My Dear, you'd think it would be eleven tracks of fast, 3 guitar chord melodies that talk about disorder and chaos. Instead, frontman Max Bemis is singing love songs to his newly aquired betrothed again, Eisley guitarist and vocalist Sherri Dupree Bemis.

His songs with Dupree Bemis are some of the best on the album, to be honest ("So Good," "Overbiter"). But if she's on the next album, it's the last straw for me. It will officially be considered musical PDA. Just sayin'.

A lot of the songs on Anarchy, My Dear are even more understated than their last album, the 2009 self titled and their last album with RCA Records (they're on an indie label called Equal Vision now). So the fact that the band decides to name THIS album Anarchy, My Dear is very unexpected. Even a rebuttal to 2004's "Admit it!!!" called "Admit it Again," is anything but anarchic, except for maybe the lyrics - "Don't wanna hear about how the latest Rihanna single is a post-modern masterpiece," a personal favorite.

Anarchy isn't necessarily all that Say Anything are about. They're also about catchy hooks with a twist and this album most certainly has that. It starts with "Burn a Miracle." I'm a sucker for clapping songs, so I loved it within the first five seconds of listening to it. In true Max Bemis fashion, you're not quite sure what he's talking about but you know that it means something. "I once courted a boy/He looked a lot like me/But his eyelids were destroyed," he starts with.

Like I said before, the gems on this album are "So Good" and "Overbiter". "So Good" is very "Cemetery"-esque (from their 2009 self titled album), Bemis singing with his wife about love and looking "good," something that isn't hard for either of them. "Overbiter" is a bit experimental for them with the funky piano arrangement. Bemis and Dupree Bemis have a good chemistry, I will give them that. It's a tit for tat motif that work really well for them. "Overbiter" describes (at least I think it describes,) a dream Max Bemis has about basically, what he envisions a perfect life to be. Dupree Bemis squeals in the chorus, "and you're the right boy, at the right time" (Forgive me but, gag me with a spoon!)

"Sheep" is another highlight of this album, where Bemis cries "It's my life and I'll live it without you!" which at first has a little goth feel to it but then fades out as they continue with their pop punk familiarity (too bad they didn't try a traditional goth song!) The best part of this is the bridge, where the pace changes, "Mara & Me" style: "You're everything I wanted/You're everything I needed/Everything I wanted/I've gotta let you go." The song after this, "Peace Out" is an honorable mention but kind of an unforgettable song.

I haven't listened to Say Anything's debut album, Baseball, but I've come to realize that there's a pattern with Say Anything albums: amazing, solid but not as amazing, amazing, etc. ...Is a Real Boy and their self titled, to me, go in the amazing category. In Defense of the Genre and this one would go in the other one. Hopefully the pattern will continue and we can have their next effort in the amazing category.

Rating: 7 out of 10

x-posted on Scene Point Blank.

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