Californians Say Anything have become somewhat of an institution in the pop-punk genre, racking up seven albums over their time, and now returning to the music scene with an eighth effort, ‘I Don’t Think It Is’. It’s a somewhat surprising return since frontman Max Bemis decided he didn’t want to go through the whole process of advertising the album and building up a hype around it, instead opting to simply release the album without warning.
Opening number, ‘Give A Damn’, sees Say Anything return to their typically chaotic angst-ridden format with an infectious chorus that really kicks off the album in a promising way, which may be the influence of fellow producer and drummer Darren King (of Mutemath), since a few of the band’s more recent efforts have fallen on displeased ears. This leads into ’17, Coked Up And Speeding’, which, along with ‘So Numb’, sees them at their most melodic, again harking back to their earlier days, but with less polished vocals, conveying the chaos of these tracks well.
There’s a few odd numbers on the record, as can be expected. ‘Rum’ sees Bemis taking the lead as the instrumentals fade into the background, rapping seemingly about anything that comes into his mind which, whilst being quite impressive and eloquent, seems all to forced at times for the sake of it, and the same can be said for ‘Goshua’. ‘Jiminy’ and ‘Wire Mom’ follow similar formats to the majority of the songs on the album, and as such don’t really stand out as anything but more of the same, which is a shame since the vocal performances aren’t bad, they just doesn’t do the band justice.
‘The Brett Easton Ellis School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry’ brings something more positive to the record with one of the band’s calmer performances as does ‘#Blessed’, which holds some guest vocal performances. But, other the that, ‘I Don’t Think It Is’ is a relatively standard by-the-numbers album from Say Anything. Whilst it is indeed one of their better releases, it still feels like Bemis will churn out whatever he wants to regardless, perfectly summed up by album closer ‘Varicose Visage’ which rounds off things as abruptly as this record’s release. It’s a more promising effort from the band, but isn’t anything to reclaim the heights they were once at.
Written by Jon Barlow (@Narlow1)