Here’s just how long Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids has been making music: I was asking a friend who’s been a longtime fan of the band if he wanted to see its frontman play a solo show at Neumos tonight and his response was simple.
“Oh, I didn’t know he was still around,” my buddy said. You can’t blame him. The Get Up Kids went seven years between studio albums and last released a record in 2011, the somewhat poorly received “There Are Rules.”
Pryor’s 2013 solo album, “Wrist Slitter,” is an altogether stronger collection of tunes. Channeling his inner Mac McCaughan, Pryor’s 12 songs are tight packages of angst laden with the sort of satisfying hooks that’ll have you bopping along before you realize just how unhappy some of the lyrics are.
A perfect example of this dichotomy is “Kinda Go To Pieces,” in which Pryor cheerily details his inability to hold things together while his friends and family do nothing to help. The misery would be almost unbearable if not for the saccharine delivery.
The album, Pryor’s third solo effort in three years, is a departure from the sort of acoustic emo he explored on “May Day” and “Still, There’s A Light.” It’s odd to listen to a song drenched in alt-country trappings like “More Than I Wanted To Know” and realize that just a year later Pryor was writing punk riffs like the driving core of “Say What You’re Gonna Say.”
That’s not to say the change is unwelcome. It’s just another evolution for an artist who has been incredibly prolific since The Get Up Kids released its first album in 1997.
Max Bemis, lead singer of the band Say Anything, is another artist taking a break from his “day job” on this tour. He’ll be playing solo and with his wife, Sherri DuPree, as part of the duo Perma. Merriment and Allison Weiss open. Tickets are $16.
-Owen R. Smith, on Twitter @inanedetails