Say Anything lightens up with new project

Self-titled third album in stores Oct. 13

NEW YORK -- On L.A.-based, pop-punk outfit Say Anything's 2007 album, "In Defense of the Genre," the band tackled some pretty dark fare. Saints were sent to hell, abusive relationships earned comparisons to cancer, and lead singer/songwriter Max Bemis' continued to address his past history with drug addiction. But Say Anything wants fans to know that it has lightened up -- a little bit, at least -- on its third album, self-titled and due Oct. 13 on RCA.

"It's not that this record isn't dark," says Bemis in a statement. "It's just more fun and not in a mindless way. I'd say it's easily the closest our band has gotten to writing a record that our fans would want us to write."

Producer Neal Avron (Weezer, Fall Out Boy) worked on Say Anything's new album, which was recorded earlier this year at Los Angeles' Boat Studio. The lead single is entitled "Hate Everyone," perhaps proving that the band's new material won't be drastically sunnier than the old songs. But Bemis says that the album definitely reflects a positive turning point in his life.

"The songs on this record were inspired by an amazing adventure I had actually becoming a worthwhile person again," he explains. "I had to let go of my self-loathing and general sense of self-imposed alienation, which led me through a journey of self-discovery, at the end of which I fell in love and got married."

Say Anything's new album is its first since 2007's "In Defense of the Genre," which sold 117,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. " 'In Defense' was our opportunity to pay homage to our fans, to the bands we grew up listening to, even to our own artistic abilities," says Bemis. "Our new album steps out of tradition and tries to do things's a bigger, more accessible undertaking, but it's twice as complex."