The Academy Is…./Fast Times At Barrington High

The Academy Is…are an American Rock/Emo band from Chicago, Illinois. Despite a name change, rocky tours, and numerous line-up changes, The Academy Is…has maintained a large fan base and critical acclaim. Fast Times At Barrington High is the bands 3rd full length release.

About A Girl—-Coming out of the quiet with a hum that is overtaken by an aggressive pop-punk guitar, the vocal is nice but really comes alive with the chorus. Sounding more British than some Brit Bands, the song is immediately catchy and well delivered.

Summer Hair=Forever Young—-Beginning full barrel, the tone down shifts upon the entrance of the vocal. A nice duo-vocal really cements the ’emo’ tag. A really standout track, one of the best on the CD. The drive of the music reminds me of classic styled Lit. Very nice.

His Girl Friday—-Again, a full gallop out of the gate that slows at  the entrance of the vocal and then comes alive with the chorus. The same vocal recipe is predictable, and the music is geared towards the Warped Tour crowd, but it is damn listenable!!

The Test—-Somewhat down-tempo ed at the onset. The vocal is more subdued and understated. The lyrical content is somewhat juvenile, but the sentiment and emotion are real. I love the line “……let’s imagine the end, before we even begin…”.

Automatic Eyes—-A nice pleasant mix of The Cure and Brand New, the song is more low keyed musically. Vocally very pleasant and emotive. I like the highs and lows of the track. The faster ‘interludes’ of music settles you back into the vocal nicely.

Crowded Room—-Aggressive and rough, A nice up=tempo pleas er. More pop-punk that earlier material. The band has obviously studied numerous ‘recipes’ for successful emo stardom.

Copperstone—-Catchy, with a nice jangly guitar mixed with a pure onslaught of guitar driven power pop. The vocal remains predictable but still pleasant.

After The Last Midtown Show—-Smoky and hazy with atmosphere, a great show cool down with lots of fog and blue lights. The vocal is PURE majesty. The tempo increases gradually, but never overpowers while the vocal gets more and more emotive as the song continues. Wonderful!!!

Beware! Cougar!—-Wow, a musical departure with a slight alt-country beat that suck you in. What a masterful up and down delivery. Lyrically….WHATEVER. Musically….FANTASTIC!!!

Paper Chase—-Continuing with the fast, fast musical intro with a slow down upon the vocal entrance, the timbre has become predictable and tiresome. The vocal on this track is stellar, the musical ‘refrain’ a tried and true mixture of emo chords. Not bad…..but…..

One More Weekend—-Wow, a different intro method! A vocal immediately greets you and then allows the song to develop. They should try more of that. It works!!! A nice catchy song with a more aggressive vocal. I’m surprised that this track did not garner more attention.

*** out of 5


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