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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

You will NEVER find a better album.

I first found out about The Academy Is... last summer and was instantly blown away by the mature, powerful and evocative sound that they've managed to make their own so early on, and with what sounds like such effortless ease. An album like this only comes around once in a long while; an album where every song is an instant win, every track worthy of release as a single, where every riff grips you, every hook grabs you and the sentiment is so clear, so vivacious and to the point that you can't help but feel moved by it. There's part of me that wants to tell you not to by this album, to tell your friends and family to leave it alone and to forget that you ever even knew it existed, just so I can keep them to myself a little longer. But the music lover in me wants to say to you: go to it, it's just a click away and then you too can say "I own a piece of musical history, I own Almost Here." And you'll feel proud to say it, proud to show it to your friends, proud to carry a boombox on your shoulder and let the whole world know that these guys are the messiahs of emo. So do it. You could do far worse for £7.90.

Good clean healthy american fun

Recently touring the UK with panic! at the disco, selling out all there shows before there album even came out here is quite a feat. This album is a good well polished record with some powerful strong tracks like 'Checkmarks' and 'Black Mamba'. Emotional lyrics and power punk guitars this band will be labeled emo but its a lot better then the ordainary emo/scremo rubbish. A good buy but disappointing that there is only 10 tracks.

almost here,but not quite yet

I've been wanting this album for a while now after hearing clips of it on I-Tunes, but once i had it i wasn't too impressed. Its not rubbish its just the same as every band of this genre. It doesnt offer anything new and exciting. Slow Down and Black Mamba are the stand out tracks for me so i'd urge you to download those two bad boys and then move on to Panic! At the Disco. Same type of music just better


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...
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