Album Review: Anarchy My Dear

22 April 2012 | 12:59 pm | Brendan Telford

Bemis is still an intriguing figure, yet Anarchy, My Dear proves a glaring reminder that intrigue means nothing without focused talent.

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Max Bemis really hates posers, and wants the whole world to know it. The cantankerous punk frontman of Los Angeles outfit Say Anything uses their fifth album Anarchy, My Dear as a veritable soapbox to espouse his hatred for hipster sycophants the world over. Such sentiments are all well and good – I'm sure that many share his vitriol – but this isn't spoken word. Unfortunately there's nowhere near enough balls in the musical department to back up Bemis' fire and brimstone.

Burn A Miracle opens up proceedings, and lyrically it fires, Bemis flipping the bird at the audience as he snarls about a boy who “pleasured himself to the music of well-dressed, inbred college students.” Such introspection should be melded to fiery, ballistic punk compositions, but no: Say Anything offers up lush synth and generic guitar lines instead. There is very little to distinguish this band from any other by-product of the SoCal pop-punk zeitgeist. Admit It Again sees Bemis at his most venomous, firing both barrels at the hipster scene, yet this also fails on three counts. Firstly, he has said it before (and better) on Admit It from 2004's …Is A Real Boy. Secondly, hating hipsters and tastemakers is such a lazy form of musical attack, and rather than sounding enlightened, Bemis comes across less like he doesn't care about them and more like he desperately wants their positive endorsement. But thirdly and most importantly, sonically it sucks. There is nary an inspired riff, hook or roll in this entire album.

Bemis is still an intriguing figure, yet Anarchy, My Dear proves a glaring reminder that intrigue means nothing without focused talent.