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The Academy Is - Almost There

The Academy Is, Almost There

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

CHICAGO pop punk-rockers The Academy Is claim they want to move people – ‘to impact in them the same way we’ve been affected through music’.

Yet listening to their debut album, Almost There it’s hard to know how they’ll reach that many people beyond the punk-rock crowd that are still lamenting the loss of Blink-182 from their fraternity.

That’s not to say the album is a bad listen; merely an over-familiar one that could have been produced by one of any number of US punk-rock bands with their eye on the mainstream.

The Academy Is are comprised of William Beckett (singer), Mike Carden (guitars), Tom Conrad (second guitar/backing vocals) and Andy Mrotek (drums) and they specialise in energetic, catchy blasts of post-punk rock that carry their own limited charm.

But listen to the album for too long and it begins to sound a little over-familiar in places and could have done with a few more changes in style.

Album opener, Attention is a bright start, laiden with power-hooks and a bouncy style, but Season settles into a generic formula that provokes easy and obvious comparisons with the likes of Fall Out Boy, Simple Plan, Blink 182 and even Hundred Reasons.

Slow Down offers a promising mid-tempo ballad that is one of the definite album highlights; while Skeptics and True Believers is brimming with an infectious energy that will probably enable it to become a firm live favourite.

But too often the album sticks to formula as opposed to achieving its stated aim of ‘breaking down stereotypes’, a failing that makes it all the more disappointing.

The name of the album stems from the fact that the band don’t see themselves as the finished article yet – ‘there is always more to accomplish’ and ‘we aren’t quite here yet’, states William.

As promising as Almost There is in places, then, you can’t help but agreeing with the latter sentiment.

Track listing:

  1. Attention
  2. Season
  3. Slow Down
  4. Phrase That Pays
  5. Black Mamba
  6. Skeptics And True Believers
  7. Classifieds
  8. Checkmarks
  9. Down And Out
  10. Almost Here