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Album Review: Say Anything - 'Hebrews'

17 June 2014 | 11:05 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Crazy enough to work.

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Say Anything have taken an extremely different approach in the recording and production of their sixth album 'Hebrews'. Opting to replace what would normally be parts played on the guitar with orchestral string arrangements, while t keeping the punk rock pace that they are so used to, there's added contrast here.

So basically the new Say Anything record has no guitars on it at all. It's weird, different, and ambitious but interestingly enough, somewhat fitting.

See if a band was to try this, Say Anything would be the perfect band, because when you want to do something ambitious like replacing all of your guitars with strings, or anything else, it will still work so long as the song-writing is solid, and you cannot find a more solid song-writer than Max Bemis.

There will become a point in this record where you won't even notice that there is no guitar work, this sounds exactly like the Say Anything you know and love, just with a different spin.

In addition to the production changes, the band has opted to include a host of guest vocalists throughout the album, similar to what they did with 2007's 'In Defence of the Genre.' From emo legends Chris Conley (Saves the Day) and Matt Pryor (The Get-Up Kids) to some new school heroes Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra) and Jon Simmons (Balance & Composure), everyone brings their own unique style to the picture in a fitting fashion, even Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley gets a jersey and slots in perfectly.

The full-length is equally laced with plenty of Eisley (Bemis' wife Sherri's band), with all of the vocalists making an appearance and bass player Garon Dupree engineering the record. It really is a family affair.

Bemis is still on point with his humorous social commentary style lyrics, with just as many epic sing-a-long melodies that will become anthems, especially the group chant at the end of opening track 'John McLane', or the booming chorus of first single 'Six Six Six'.

Most importantly, it seems like moments in prior Say Anything records were leading to this. The cabaret style poignancy of 'Woe' on '...Is A Real Boy,' is reminiscent of a prequel to 'My Greatest Fear Is Splendid', and 'Judas Decapitation' is pulled straight from the self titled record.

Ending with an electronic pop number titled 'Nibble Nibble', once exploding shares a weirdly similar melody with Silverchair's Emotion Sickness, but brings in some guest work from Blink's Tom Delonge to remind you what a staple of this scene Say Anything have culminated here, only with a very original twist.

'Hebrews' is experimentation done right, marking itself as Say Anything's most unique sounding record without ruining their legacy or seeming out of place in the process.

1. John McLane

2. Six Six Six

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3. Judas Decapitation

4. Kall Me Kubrick

5. My Greatest Fear Is Splendid

6. Hebrews

7. Push

8. The Shape of Love to Come

9. Boyd

10. A Look

11. Lost My Touch

12. Nibble Nibble