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Album Review

It's too bad that the Academy Is... have one of the more unfortunate names of the whole early-21st century Chicago emo scene, since they actually sound like they could be one of the few to outlast the rest. Their sophomore effort, Santi, picks up where the well-received Almost Here left off, but instead of just rehashing the pop sweetness that appealed to so many Warped Tour attendees (though there's plenty of that, too), the guys incorporate more grit and muscle into the mix. The record has a more varied and self-assured feel to it, and though definitely still poppy, considering Butch Walker sat in the production chair, it's almost surprising the glossy sheen isn't blinding. But that's a good thing. "Same Blood" is a peppy little number that manages to be simultaneously expansive and wholly grounded, owing much of its earnest charm (as with most of the crew's songs) to the winsome vocals of William Beckett. He's a bit more playful this time around and his confidence lends itself to the rest of the album, where songs sparkle with freshness. Cuts like the spunky "Neighbors" and alternative rock-leaning "You Might Have Noticed" show the guys mixing their youthful yearning with a more straightforward rock backbone, and a confident cool is allowed to invade the swaggering (and surprisingly well-done) "Bulls in Brooklyn." Even when the Academy Is... amble into the dancey territory of "LAX to O'Hare" — a song that seriously evokes Communiqué — the vaguely post-punk vibe and brittle guitars remain more fun than overdone. The thing with this Windy City crew is that it never seems like they're trying too hard or being unnatural, which makes songs that don't quite hit the mark — as in "Sleeping with Giants (Lifetime)," where echoing guitars cut out into a fluffy chorus that kills the mood — easier to take. An enjoyable next step for the Academy Is..., this album shows that the guys are still growing, but maybe just starting to figure themselves out.

Customer Reviews

Different... (Warning: Long Review)

This is certainly a change for TAI, and I personally can't decide whether I like the new sound or the old sound better. Song-by-song Review: Same Blood-I love the guitar part and then the beginning vocals. However, the vocals have a sort of echo that I don't really like. It starts out great, but kind of fades out. 8/10 LAX to O'Hare- This is definitely one of my favorites on this album. Everything blends well. 10/10 We've Got a Big Mess On Our Hands- Something is not quite right, in my opinion, at the chorus. The rest of the song is all right, though. Listen to it enough and you get used to it. 8/10 Sleeping With Giants (Lifetime) - This song certainly stands out. It's not as big on the guitars like the previous songs. This focuses more on William's vocals, interchanging from a medium pace to a slow, sweet beautiful part. 10/10 Everything We Had- This is much slower than Sleeping With Giants, also focusing on William’s vocals. This is quite a change from Almost Here. William’s voice has definitely matured with the band’s sound. 10/10 Bulls In Brooklyn- This is somewhere between Sleeping With Giants and We’ve Got a Big Mess On Our Hands. It’s pretty good. 8/10 Neighbors- The guitar and vocals blend well, especially at the beginning. There is also an awesome harmony part. This is an awesome, more upbeat song. It could have a little more energy, though. 9/10 Seed- The song starts out slow and transitions well to a faster-paced chorus. The back-up vocals sound too…alternative, as far as vocals, for my taste at times, however. It’s also slightly boring and repetitive. 7.5/10 Chop Chop- A nice change from the previous slower paced songs. This is more like We’ve Got a Big Mess On Our Hands. It’s all right, but as far as vocals, it doesn’t stand out more than the rest of the songs. 8.5/10 You Might Have Noticed- There is nothing amazing about this song, but it’s not terrible either. 8/10 Unexpected Places- This reminds me of a Latin song at first-the way the words are sung and sort of cut off? It’s pretty cool and is a nice way to cap off the album. 9/10 RECAP: There is so much going on in this album that everyone will find at least one song to suit their taste, from fast paced alternative and rock songs to slower ballads. Don’t base your opinion of this album on just one song like I did at first. At the least, check out the 30 second clips to find the song for you.


The Academy Is... have changed their sound completely for their new album "Santi". And I've got to be honest, it's probably one of the best things that can happen to this band. They have created their own unique sound which every band should have. For them, vocals that range from dark and low to a moderate good high. The guitar is amazing in this album, the 30 sec. previews only let you hear how good the vocals are but when you listen through your headphones on your iPod or mp3 player, the guitar rocks. It's a good thing they got another guitar player. I received this album 5 days before it came out because II pre-ordered it and got it early and it's all I can listen to. This album is completey amazing. DEFINITELEY DOWNLOAD (no order): 1. Same Blood 2. Bulls In Brooklyn 3. Seed 4. Chop Chop 5. Unexpected Places WHAT SHOULD I DO?: [X] Buy the physical album [ ] Buy album off iTunes [ ] Buy 'DEFINITELEY DONWLOAD' songs [ ] Don't bother

The Academy Is... going to take over the world!

While the sound is familiar to those who loved their CD "Almost Here" there is no denying that The Academy Is... have developed both their talent and their perspective. The lyrics encompass new experiences and views. William Beckett's vocals are stronger but still have the bittersweet yearning and sincerity fans adore. Mike Carden and Michael Guy Chislett are not afraid to get creative and give so much more than the usual rock guitar riffs. The rhythm section consisting of Adam T. Siska on bass and Andy "the Butcher" Mrotek on drums will make you dance until you fall down. Each song is unique but the CD comes together solidly. "Sophomore effort" is much too tame a phrase for a CD this good. Listen to: We've Got a Big Mess on Our Hands, Seed, Same Blood, Unexpected Places, Bulls in Brooklyn, Sleeping With Giants


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
Santi, The Academy Is...
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Indie Rock
  • Released: Apr 02, 2007

Customer Ratings


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