Mike Bonanni, Staff Writer
The Shins aren’t the only band for which people have been waiting to return. Say Anything are back with a single-disc album (as opposed to the previous two albums “In Defense of the Genre” and “…Is a Real Boy”). There are also some key differences that should be noted. “Anarchy, My Dear” is a new step in lead vocalist Max Bemis’ life and therefore has a newer sound.
The biggest difference has to be that most tracks on this album are acoustic guitar heavy. If there’s any trace of their last album, it can be found in “Burn a Miracle,” but electric guitar takes a back seat for the most part. Most of this album sounds similar to “Ahhh… Men,” off of their last self-titled release, but not in the repetitive or lazy sense. It’s just a less rhythmically driven sound, verging on indie pop rather than emo or pop punk. The Say Anything lyrical style is still there, so don’t panic.
This time, Say Anything is mellower — the opposite of the expected sound for an album called “Anarchy, My Dear.” According to an interview with Bemis on Drivenfaroff.com, he wanted this album to be more punk in its general themes involving society, rather than boy-girl relationships. “Sheep,” for example, is about people who behave like sheep in that they just go along with everyone else because it seems cool. The opening lyrics of the song state: “Dressed in rags and drenched in sweat, spinning something that the world will soon forget.”
Now forgive the rough comparison, but this almost feels like what happened with Incubus’ recent release, “If Not Now When,” but less drastically different in style. Rather, it’s about the sudden change from lots of powerful guitar to mostly acoustic tracks. But Say Anything still sticks to their creatively fun, ranting lyrics, so expect more listening and less bouncing around the room to sweet electric guitar sounds.
This CD is probably one that gets better the more it is listened to. It also seems more like a personal experience, like on a car ride or sitting alone either inside or outside on a nice day. For those who like bouncing, this album may not be as good as their older stuff. Give it a chance though, because this new album still has everything that makes them a good band.