Thursday, 25 September 2008

Review - The Academy Is. - Fast Times At Barrington High

The Academy Is. - Fast Times At Barrington High

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7 out of 10

The Academy Is... have been a favourite band of mine for a long time now, with both of their previous efforts being amongst my most listened to albums in my collection.

Their first album "Almost Here" was full of summery pop-punk tunes that were impossible not to love, whilst album number two "Santi" saw the band produce a far more mature and very different sounding record which had catchy hooks to beat and belting sing-a-long choruses that again, were just impossible not to love.

"Fast Times At Barrington High" brings us to something of a happy medium between these two previous albums. Album opener "About A Girl" sees The Academy Is... back at their pop-punk, upbeat best. The chorus has to this track has been in the back of my mind all day and is the perfect summer anthem. The same goes for "His Girl Friday", "Paper Chase" and "One More Weekend" - poppy, summery tunes with pace and fantastic energy. However, I really wish I could say the same thing for the 8 remaining tracks on this album. The energy and toe-tapping factor is somewhat lost, and the sound of "Santi" returns, but it's almost like they've 'cheapened' or 'dumbed-down' their sound a bit, and gotten a bit lazy in the song-writing department. Some of these tracks sound strikingly similar to the likes of Boys Like Girls, and the hard-hitting lyrics that I enjoyed so much in their previous two albums have all but disappeared. The album seems to slow right down throughout the remaining tracks and verge on boring - a huge disappointment when we all know the huge potential that this band possesses.

"After The Last Midtown Show" is pretty much a slightly different take on "Santi" track "Everything We Had", but without the tenderness and delicate vocals that William Beckett delivered so effortlessly last time around.

However, don't let this lure you into a sense that this is a bad album - it's not; it's just that for me, it's slightly disappointing when I know that this could have been an absolutely outstanding album. I had such high expectations, that the disappointment comes as a result of me setting my hopes too high. The four stand-out tracks that I mentioned before are worth the money for this album alone, and whilst the remaining tracks aren't quite as good, they're growing on me already.

Whilst this album isn't quite what I wanted it to be, it's by no means a bad record and definitely worth you spending a few quid on so you can own it yourself.


1. About A Girl
2. Summer Hair = Forever Young
3. His Girl Friday
4. The Test
5. Rumored Nights
6. Automatic Eyes
7. Crowded Room
8. Coppertone
9. After The Last Midtown Show
10. Beware! Cougar!
11. Paper Chase
12. One More Weekend

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