In the vein of pop superstars such as Queen Bey herself, Say Anything have dropped their newest release I Don’t Think It Is without any forewarning. Stemming from Max Bemis‘ thorough disdain for the ‘pre-album build up’, they streamed their album for a day prior to its surprise release.
It’s a slightly different turn for Say Anything: lyrically and vocally, it’s so recognisable as being classic Bemis – angry, clever and uber witty. Musically, it’s more urgent and matches Bemis‘ vocals in terms of its aggression, as opposed to the cleaner sounds of albums gone by. In a collaboration with Mutemath drummer Darren King, it’s far more rhythmic and – on some songs, anyway – there’s a definite hip-hop vibe. Bringing with him his creativity with both drumming and electronics, there are moments – notably Rum, Goshua and the entirely fantastic Attaboy – where the spaced-out, chill feel that King brings to the album juxtaposes perfectly with Bemis‘ typically abrasive vocals.
There are tracks that are reminiscent of the Say Anything of yesteryear, that benefit greatly from this slight update of this brand new rhythmic yet laidback approach. Tracks like Jiminy and #Blessed are enjoyable in the same sort of ways that songs from earlier albums like In Defense of the Genre would be, but with a more electronic, kind of synth-y feel that those albums wouldn’t necessarily have had. It’s this kind of growth that contributes greatly to Say Anything being as relevant today as they were in the …Is A Real Boy days.
In a lengthy press release put out by Bemis on the day prior to the release, he stated that King bought in an entirely new set of influence to the album, combining a little bit of NYC hardcore to Bemis‘ typical emo and math-rock. There are parts of the album that are, admittedly, uncharacteristically noisy – here’s looking at you, Give A Damn – that sound great because Bemis‘ signature shouty growl matches the music that accompanies it.
The album, by Say Anything‘s standards, is a little different; but, it’s not as though this is unrecognisable from their previous efforts. There’s still that tendency that Bemis has to shout absolutely everything, still those self-depricating lyrics, and those wonderfully weird song titles (The Bret Easton Ellis School of Witchcraft and Wizardry being a particular highlight there). The entire context surrounding the album is Bemis genuinely not giving a damn: from it’s release, to its production, the general feel of each and every track, he chose to work with Darren King purely because he quite fancied the idea of collaborating with him; and it’s resulted in one of the best Say Anything releases in a very long time.
Standout Tracks – Rum, #Blessed, Attaboy
For Fans Of: Mutemath, shouty music with clever lyrics
Written By: Emily Laws