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Almost Here

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Album Review

The Academy Is... blends the yearning vocals and tense slivers of guitar common to groups like Sleeping at Last, Hidden in Plain View, and labelmates/pals Fall Out Boy. However, the Chicago combo isn't as concerned about causing a racket as some of its peers, as the huge hooks of "Attention" and "Phrase That Pays" prove. William Beckett carries the latter's melody with his velvety, bordering on histrionic vocals, and though the electric guitars crash behind him, they never tread into roaring post-hardcore territory. No screaming alternate vocals, no jarring instrumental breaks or squalls of feedback. "Black Mamba"'s underlying urgency takes a turn for the jaunty in the chorus, and an acoustic guitar rattles in there, too. "Classifieds" and "Slow Down" are equally strong, switching up the tempos and mixing in harmonies so their edges stay soft even when the guitars get loud. This doesn't mean that the Academy Is... is somehow soft — no more so than similar, lyrics-as-confessional acts like Early November. It's clear that the songwriting team of vocalist Beckett and guitarist Michael Carden wants to keep Almost Here melodic and very accessible, and the pair succeeds throughout the record. "Checkmarks" features another powerful singalong chorus, "Skeptics and True Believers" moves along at a faster pace, and "Down and Out" kicks in on robust Midwestern power chords. The Academy Is... would benefit from more of this Weezer-derived bottom end. But the band's slick pop yen is impressive enough throughout Almost Here to make it a strong debut.

Customer Reviews

Ultimate sounds of the summer

This album just seems to be incredibly hyper, bursting with excitement. It has everything; a signature beginning and ending song (Attention and Almost Here) and some strong songs in the middle (Black Mamba and Checkmarks). I saw them support Fall Out Boy at Brixton earlier this year and they were as good as this album and if I dare say it better than Fall Out Boy the headline act. This album is one of the best ive ever bought, the best songs are slow down, checkmarks,season,attention, and the very best-------almost here. Unbelievable personification of youth

sooo amazing! :)

this is the album of the year! i love it! about this time for the academy is.. it can only get better from here!

WOW!!

Thats not an understatment this album is top class, one of the best this year will feature!

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Hoffman Estates, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Formerly in rival bands on the Chicago local scene, guitarist Mike Carden and vocalist William Beckett came together in 2003 to mark the beginning of emo-pop outfit the Academy Is... (originally named "the Academy"). Naming influences from U2 to Weezer to Pink Floyd, the duo added bassist Adam Siska (Beckett's classmate from high school), along with a second guitarist and drummer, to record 2004's The Academy EP for hometown label LLR Recordings. As luck would have it, fellow Chicagoan Pete Wentz...
Full bio

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