Over the past few years, indie/pop punk outfit Say Anything have transitioned from pseudo-band (always the brainchild of singer and songwriter Max Bemis, but with a more or less fixed live lineup) to one man show with a revolving door of contributors and players, and, as a result, have taken more artististic risks and experimental leaps than ever before. 2012’s Anarchy, My Dear was a deliberately, emotionally deconstructionist “punk” concept album, and 2014’s Hebrews, maybe the most oddball release in the band’s whole catalogue, eschewed guitars for strings, leaning on the Say Anything tradition of tapping into a diverse array of guest vocalists from the pop punk world. We had a feeling that new music was on the way, as the band had already announced a spring tour with mewithoutYou, which brings them to Marathon Music Works on May 22, but last night Bemis caught us by surprise, not only formally announcing his sixth album (seventh, if you count 2001’s Baseball) but also making it available to stream in full, with a planned release on digital platforms this Friday, Feb. 5 (a physical release will follow April 15).
Dubbed I Don’t Think It Is, the new album is a sonic return to form, and might be the most impassioned, relatable, and furious effort since 2007’s In Defense of the Genre. Mutemath drummer (and Nashville resident) Darren King not only played, but also produced, bringing a different musical sensibility and broader, more progressive tones. A pseudo-concept album about Max’s friend Josh (who’s featured on the LP’s cover art), the record also features contributions from Cody Votolato of the Blood Brothers, Paul Hinojos of At The Drive‐In, Christian Holden of the Hotelier, Michelle Zauner of Little Big League, Zack Shaw of Backwards Dancer, Dylan Mathieson of Tiny Moving Parts, Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley, Stacy King of Sucre, Christie DuPree of Merriment, and original Say Anything bassist Alex Kent, and was mixed by punk superstar Will Yip. You can hear I Don’t Think It Is in full below, pre-order it here, and grab tickets to the group’s upcoming Nashville date here. If you’re a longtime fan, prepare to be blown away (or, at the very least, pleasantly surprised)!