Say Anything “Anarchy, My Dear” Review: Good, In Its Own Way

When it comes to Say Anything, you never know what to expect.

However, you know you’ll be entertained.

Max Bemis (Lead Vocals), Coby Linder (Drums), Jake Turner (Guitar/Vocals), Jeff Turner (Guitar/Vocals), Parker Case (Keyboard) and Adam Siska (Bass Guitar) can mix raunchy, tongue-in-cheek lyrics with infectious melodies like no other band. It’s always been their niche.

They’re never afraid to experiment and go beyond what’s normally expected of today’s “ordinary” pop-punk bands. Due to this, they’ve adopted a unique sound, but even then at that, Bemis and Co. won’t settle.

They constantly find new ways to explore their sound and it pays off. Each release offers something completely different than the last. Past releases like 2007’s “In Defense of the Genre,” and their 2009 self-titled surely prove this.

But no matter what the band puts out, fans will always compare it to their most critically-acclaimed 2005 effort: “…Is a Real Boy.”
Their latest 11-track release off Equal Vision Records and fifth studio album, entitled “Anarchy, My Dear,” is Say Anything’s attempt to go back to the “glory days” of “…Is A Real Boy.”

To even further help try to recreate that magic, they turned again to that album’s Producer- Tim O’Heir.

The album’s first track, “Burn a Miracle,” opens up with claps and chants by Linder before the music picks up with a sturdy piano-driven cabaret groove, before Bemis goes overboard with his vocal deliveries, but that makes it very “Say Anything.” Decent job.

It takes plenty of gall to name a song after your own band, but Say Anything gets away with it here. The song is decent, as a catchy melody leads through mid-tempo acoustic guitar strumming. There’s even a nice punk-ish guitar solo thrown in.

“So Good” delivers that slow-tempo “indie vibe” and it’s easy to lose yourself within the creative melodies and lyrics. Bemis’ wife Sherri backs up Bemis on vocals and really helps bring out this dazzler of a ballad. The two share great musical chemistry and it shows.

The title track, “Anarchy, My Dear” begins with a snare drum roll with country-like riffs. The music almost paints a patriotic picture, complete with the American flag being waved.

“Peace Out” also shines on the album; an acoustic ballad with elements of Folk and catchy, humorous lyrics, very “Flight of the Conchords”-esque.

“Overbiter” is essentially radio pop with a “show tune” feel and Bemis’ wife again appears again in the chorus. Catchy.
The main problem with “Anarchy, My Dear” is that was then and this is now. It was a different time. Bemis went through some treacherous personal troubles during the time “… Is A Real Boy” was recorded. He’s no longer affected by Bipolar disorder or depression. You can’t emulate the past no matter how hard you try, especially with music.

Not to say this attempt falls completely falls through, however.

There is one track that captures that album’s feelings: “Admit It Again.” The sequel to “Admit It” from “…Is a Real Boy,” Bemis goes off again on a hilarious, anti-“hipster” tirade with spoken-word verses. It works just as much now as it did back then.
Other tracks on the album (“Sheep,” “Of Steel”) disappoint in terms of originality and don’t really possess that Say Anything “it” factor. It sounds as if it’s been done before. It’s okay, though. It doesn’t overshadow the rest of the album.

As always, Bemis has the voice and creative mind to pull off all Say Anything tries to do. Sure, it’s over-the-top, but it’s supposed to be. It’s all part of the fun. As Bemis transitions flawlessly from whispers to shouts, you can feel the passion in his voice. The words he sings almost come to life.

No, “Anarchy, My Dear” isn’t “…Is a Real Boy.” It doesn’t need to be. It’s good in its own way. Bemis has his life together again and his music definitely reflects that. “Anarchy, My Dear” does enough to satisfy longtime and new fans alike.

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