REVIEW: Say Anything – Anarchy, My Dear

Artist: Say Anything
Album: Anarchy, My Dear
Genre: Rock
Label: Equal Vision

Since forming in 2000, the career of Say Anything has been a rollercoaster ride; from the label bidding war following the release of Menorah/Majora to the well-documented personal troubles of frontman Max Bemis to parting ways with RCA after releasing their 2009 self-titled album.

Now in 2012, Bemis and company have found a new home in Equal Vision Records, and along with it they have found much needed stability, as Anarchy, My Dear sees Say Anything producing a concise record with self-awareness and confidence.

Longtime fans will more than likely quickly fall for Anarchy…. From the start the band showcase that indie rock angst that they have consistently shown throughout numerous releases; ‘Burn A Miracle’ is a thriving punk-fuelled number that is bold and brash, and is an ideal opener.

Throughout Anarchy… there are moments that give the impression this record is …Is A Boy part two. Tracks like ‘Night’s Song’ and ‘Sheep’ contain the same mix of thought-provoking lyrics and hooky guitars that gave the aforementioned record a cult-like status.

One attribute of Say Anything is that they’re always willing to give their records variation, and with tracks like ‘So Good’ and ‘Overbiter,’ this record is no different. The former is a delicate, mellow number with Bemis sounding bright and sincere in his delivery, and Mrs. Bemis (Eisley’s Sherri DuPree) sweetly compliments her husband. Whereas the latter is a bouncy, piano-led track that is Say Anything at perhaps their most pop.

Although Anarchy, My Dear has all the makings of being a great Say Anything record, you can’t help but feel that it’s a record that is too-polished and, in places, is missing that raw edge that made previous efforts compelling. Nevertheless ‘Admit It Again;’ to degree a follow up to ‘Admit It’ (from …Is A Boy), is a stark reminder of how genuine pissed off Max Bemis can be as he takes take-no-prisoners critique on the “hipster” culture and those who have criticised the band, especially online.

By the time you reach the title track, you begin to realise Say Anything have matured. The track is laid back and introspective, and much like the album itself, it’s good but not great.

As a whole, Anarchy, My Dear proves to be a mixture of angst-filled indie rock (‘Burn A Miracle,’ ‘ Admit It Again,’) mellow, self-reflective moments (‘Peace Out’) and thriving guitar-driven, near-pop songs with distinctive hooks (‘Say Anything’ and ‘Sheep’.) Whilst it’s a welcomed variation, the previously mentioned “too-polished” factor somewhat spoils the records momentum. But that doesn’t make ‘Anarchy…’ an altogether bad record; the livelier, aggressive moments are especially favourable, and fans of the band won’t have any complains for the record overall.

Anarchy, My Dear marks a new chapter in Say Anything’s career, one that is older, wiser and with variation.

SCORE: 7/10 
Written by: Sean Reid

James Shotwell
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