Say Anything | Anarchy, My Dear

Equal Vision (2012)
By ALEXANDRA CAVALLO  |  March 28, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars

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If Say Anything frontman Max Bemis were an anarchist, he'd be behind the scenes, printing fliers in the dark. Because despite his flair for acid-laced invectives, you get the idea he feels kind of impotent. That's not to say his words lack power, though. In fact, brashness, plus a keen wit, have set the band apart. It marks Say Anything's fourth album, for which they left RCA to return to an indie label. It's odd, then, to find that ire focused on the indie scene. On "Admit It, Again," Bemis calls out scenesters and haters in short order. "Poser, die!" he shouts, and it might be at a mirror. But that's the thing. Bemis has a knack for self-deprecation and, it turns out, subtlety. Initially, the album seems to lack focus, save a steady burn of fury. But the anarchy's in the lack of cohesion, opening with the hand-clapping force of "Burn a Miracle" and progressing manically toward the melodic woe of "Peace Out" (is that zither in there?). Bemis's wife, Sherri Dupree (of Eisley), lends her angelic vocals to the strongest track, "Overbiter," a peppy dance anthem. Nuance comes later, as it all sinks in. Bemis flirts with the title concept here, and finally plays a little hard to get.

SAY ANYTHING + KEVIN DEVINE + FAKE PROBLEMS | House of Blues, 15 Lansdowne St, Boston | April 14 @ 5 pm | All Ages | $17.50-$28 | 617.693.2583

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