Max Bemis and the Painful Splits - Max Bemis and the Painful Splits
Release Date: Current Say Anything/Motion City Soundtrack tour
Record Label: None
Max Bemis is without a doubt one of the more recognizable and appreciated figures in our music scene. Known for his, erm, unique personality, Bemis has captivated many with his ever-so-honest lyricism and seemingly unlimited ability to produce quality music. After three full length records with Say Anything, Bemis has put forth his first solo effort under the name Max Bemis and the Painful Splits. Actually, the record isn't his first official solo effort, according to Bemis; it is a collection of songs which he is proud of and just wants people to hear.
The ten mostly acoustic tracks amount to under a half hour, but the self titled record is a welcome dose of all things Bemis that many have grown to adore. Opener "Chlorine Bath" starts things off perfectly, as we get a solid set of scathing lyrics and a mix of smooth and rough vocals. The song's chorus is great to sing along to, as Bemis belts out, "I wanna wake up in the evening / Shred my lips, bathe in chlorine / Bless your heart, you sad thing / I don't wanna be with you." The track is one of the highlights on the record.
"Do the Dohnk", featuring Sherri Dupree-Bemis on background vocals, is another standout. The track is carried by a catchy acoustic hook and in the bridge we hear a cool electric back-and-forth guitar part. Immediately following is "Former Punisher Gone Rogue", perhaps the strongest track on this output. The chorus is another standout this time around, as Bemis sings "Come on, come on / Why don't you love me / Like how you loved me when we were young?" Again easy to sing along to, the listener can only wonder how great these songs would sound if they were flushed out into full Say Anything tracks.
Some of the songs on the Painful Splits release sound just right in their stripped down state, though. The hook in "Ms. Martin" is infectious without any production and the intensity of "Little Star" doesn't need to be huge to be felt. The vocal effect that Bemis uses on those two tracks and on "Assimilate All Bastards" is interesting to hear, although it seems to be the sort of thing that you have to be in the mood to listen to. Closer "Our Sentence Is Up" is a calming, piano-led number. The song serves as a good ending, making the album perfect for nighttime listening.
The fact that this album is just a collection of songs that Bemis threw together for the pleasure of listeners speaks volumes towards his talent. Some of these tracks are true gems, even when stacked against the full weight of Bemis' discography. It's a release that Bemis was able to put out with little pressure, making it available only on Say Anything's current tour. For a release with such little hype and buildup, Max Bemis and the Painful Splits is certainly worthy of attention.
The problem with this album is Weatherbox sounds kind of like Say Anything (vocal wise) and this sounds a lot like the lo-fi stuff on Cosmic Drama. So it's like Weatherbox who is influenced by Bemis has now flipped the script.