Sound: The Academy Is... have become a staple in pop punk's garden. Their music always seem to be the most appropriate choice for prom night, or be the songs that are most requested by crowds at beach parties, and the band's latest release, Fast Times At Barrington High maintains that status quo. It is hard to say if The Academy Is... are forerunners of melodic rock/pop punk blends synonymous with Madina Lake, Melee, and Halifax because all of these bands formed around the same time in the early to mid-2000's, but it is definite that The Academy Is have found a niche for themselves, and they like their music just the way it is. Tracks from their new album like About A Girl, Summer Hair=Forever Young, and Crowded Room show the band's magnetic skill to create puffy pop punk raptures that have labeled The Academy Is... as awesome on college campuses around the globe. The band uses that pop punk filament in songs like His Girl Friday and Paper Chase to carve out shards of dance rock grooves that support a club music/chic rock momentum, though the band never trails far away from their modern rock roots.
Lead singer William Beckett handles his vocal melodies with extreme care, and the rhythm section of bassist Adam Siska and drummer Andy Mrotek produce flouncy beats that swag across the melodic spreads nicely. But it is guitarists Michael Guy Christlett and Mike Carden who dominate the melodic flow creating slides that rise and fall using modern rock properties like in the sonic flumes of One More Weekend and the speeding flutters fanning across Beware! Cougar! The slow stirring beats along After The Last Midtown Show are augmented by softly laced guitar threads that beam gently across the melody, and the folksy texture of the guitar chords along Automatic Eyes transform into fleshy modern rock gusts as the song progresses gradually to meet up with the melodic rock tones and synth textured harmonies of Coppertone, Rumored Night, and The Test. Fans of the band will find the album to be perfect in every way, and those not taken in by Beckett's dreamy good look will find Fast times At Barrington High to be a really good album. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics gravitate to describing what it is like being in a relationship like in Automatic Eyes. Beckett contemplates, Staring at the wall above the bed / I can't sleep with all the secrets that you keep / With your automatic eyes / Five years disappeared / Five years disappeared that night/ And then sometimes the lyrics are about pining over a girl that is just out of reach like in About A Girl. Beckett reflects, Last night, I knew what to say / But you weren't there to hear it / These lines, so well rehearsed / Tongue-tied and overloaded / You never notice / I'm not in love / This is not my heart / I'm not gonna waste these words / About a girl. // 7
Overall Impression: The Academy Is... maintain a status quo on their latest release, Fast Times At Barrington High that will definitely please their fans and likely win over more fans. Their music is attractive creating a synergy with coordinates in pop punk, melodic-pop, and party rock fun, and showing the sensibilities of a band that feels very comfortable where they are. The band's music is representative of people's taste for today's rock. And while the band is sensitive to the music that relates to people's lives in their present condition, The Academy Is... are continuing on that path and taking it for as long as they can. // 8
- Susan Frances aka sweetpeasuzie (c) 2008