Touring on the strength of last year's self-titled album – a collection of arena rock guitar bombast, quirky keyboard hooks and lyrics that alternate between emotively confessional and tongue in cheek breakdowns of contemporary youth pop culture, Los Angeles pop-punk act Say Anything come to town tonight.
Most bands aren't capable of playing both side of the fence so ably, matching up dense lyrical prowess with meaty pop hooks. “It's rare that you come across a band that isn't afraid to use big words, over share, get awkward, get to the point where it's not pretty,” frontman Max Bemis says. Bands who try to go the heady route, no matter how talented they are song-writing wise, usually miss the mark. “A lot of those bands tend to become either pretentious, or really crappy emo bands. We're lucky that it's a good formula that involves trying stay stay poppy and refined but at the same time I get to bear my heart, using my own voice, which tends to mess around with big words and details.”
His sense of humor, evident on tracks like “Less Cute” and the Kings of Leon-jabbing “Mara and Me” adds another layer of complexity. It's part of a process of deconstructing genre conventions from the inside, says Bemis. In his band's case, it tends to be the emo and pop punk genres under the microscope.
“We wouldn't put in a solo that sounds like a mixture of Boston and something even cheesier, if we didn't think it was somewhat funny,” he says of the record's playful arena-rock touches. “I learned a lot from bands like Weezer that came about as a reaction to all the self-seriousness that was going on in the nineties. I also really genuinely appreciate that type of music. I love Queen and Aerosmith, a lot. When I write an arena rock song, it might be somewhat ironic, but it still comes from the heart.”
with Motion City Soundtrack
House of Blues
15 Lansdowne St., Boston