Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate
Released: January 25th, 2019
Max Bemis // Vocals
Parker Case // Keyboard, Guitars & Backup Vocals
Remington DuPree // Drums
Garron DuPree // Bass
Max Bemis is almost certainly one of music’s most perspicaciously introspective lyricists. He and Say Anything’s legendary debut …Is A Real Boy was a concept album of sorts that while never coming to full fruition, still took most of its lyrical stock from the concept of a character who literally had no control over what came out of his mouth. In a unique cultural swerve, it’s easy to pin many of the verbose, stingingly cynical lyrics from that mid-00’s release as slightly less than woke with a decade-and-a-half of hindsight. Max regularly alters lyrics live to better suit the modern gender equality climate, and spends a lot of time on Twitter focussed on a welcome new age of not damning women in songs so hard when they’ve broken your young heart. Anyway, the album was written as a character based loosely on the songwriters own opinion of himself, and Max’s latest effort with SA; Oliver Appropriate, spins a sequel of what would have been happening to the cynical, sexist, drug-addicted, self-loathing emo frontman character he perpetuated if the guy continued his flawed and selfish efforts as a washed-up New York faded star still on the chemicals and one night stands with reckless abandon while still having no control over his own words.
As a dedicated Say Anything fan through amazing, average, and enchantingly experimental rock/ emo/ electronic/ Jewish folk punk albums since the early 2000’s, this one stacks up closer to the top. This is a relief, as Max has made it evidently clear he no longer presently wishes to make Say Anything music, and concentrate on crowdfunded DIY music of varying degrees with his wife Sherri Dupree-Bemis for now, and possibly ever.
Say Anything’s potential swan song is as lyrically engaging and expansive as fans have come to love, and there’s plenty of musically structured throwbacks to the rawer Say Anything of old on this album. Diverse and heartfelt, Max paints a sad portrait of an addict burn out who never loved himself enough to love others, and does so with a couple of really ripping tunes while also autobiographically riffing on acceptance of his bisexuality, discovered feminism, the contrived state of modern alt music and punk, and a large swathe of many, many other things. Pop punk infused acoustic guitar anthems are persistent throughout this album, punched between the more warbling and evenly-paced or electronically infused tracks. All are most effective and deserve multiple listens.
Highlights include hopefully irresolute first single ‘Daze’, thumping call-and-return anthem ‘When I’m Acid‘, jaunty piano-driven number ‘Captive Audience‘, Emo classic ‘Your Father‘ (sung by guest vocalist Karl Kuehn from Museum Mouth), and stadium-anthem epic LP closer ‘Sediment‘.
Do check out Say Anything’s presently last album Oliver Appropriate. It’s their best since Hebrews, and should even sate fans who haven’t listened since they made out with strangers to Alive With The Glory Of Love in punk clubs circa-2006.
Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate tracklisting
1. The Band Fuel
3. Pink Snot
5. Ew Jersey
7. When I’m Acid
8. Captive Audience
9. Your Father
10. Send You Off
12. It’s A Process
13. The Hardest