…is a Real Boy
Those of you who follow indie rock folklore know that, as a teen, Max Bemis was courted by the majors. It was hoped that he’d be “the next Blink 182.” Instead, Bemis turned down the offers and went to college. And rather than become another flavor of the month, Bemis opted to release an album for Doghouse. Lucky for us, though, the hype behind this release is actually warranted. Max Bemis really is an incredibly talented song writer; …is a Real Boy is every bit as interesting as it was hyped to be! Unreal! This album is basically a stab and poke at the truly ironic state of “underground” music and its corresponding “scenes.” We all know that scenesters are typically as bad as, if not worse than, cheerleaders, preps and jocks, with their judgmental behavior of others. Bemis and his musical partner Coby spend the duration of …is a Real Boy making music that points out such irony. Take, for example, “Admit It”: “Prototypical non-conformist/you are a vacuous soldier of the thrift store Gestapo.” Not only is that accurate, but it’s quite hilarious.
The musical influences are rather diverse: Pavement, Built to Spill, Fugazi and Phantom Planet. The constants on the album are really strong melodies, catchy hooks and an undeniably warm and welcoming voice. It’s really hard to pin down an album that is as all over the place as this one is, so forgive me. I can say, though, that this is one of the best pop-punk albums that I’ve heard in many years.