Packed with surprises at every turn, Say Anything’s new album, In Defense of the Genre, tackles the well-worn topic of love in every genre and way possible. The album runs the musical gamut from acoustic ballads to show tunes to electronic infused beats to their signature screaming, echoing emo sound. The biggest surprise is that frontman Max Bemis does it all really well.

However, Bemis is not alone is his efforts. He gets help from a virtual who’s who of the indie rock and emo scene. While Bemis invites a bevy of friends to jump on the Defense bandwagon, there’s never any doubt who’s steering this buggy. Big name guests include Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional) and Adam Lazarra (Taking Back Sunday).

With all the star power, it would be easy for Bemis to get lost in the shuffle, but his star and vocals shine bright. The guests only stand to amplify the lead man’s howls.

Grade: B+

In Defense of the Genre is currently available.