The Academy Is – Self-Titled EP

Plain album covers usually make me cringe. The Academy’s self-titled EP has half of the back of an individual’s head in front of a wooden wall. In fact, the first track, “The Proverbial Unrest”, only further worried me, as the expansive entrance into the CD really doesn’t fit well with the extremely catchy emo-rock that is contained on the rest of this disc. Brethren to bands such as Brand New, Senses Fail, and the Early November, The Academy mixes intricate guitar riffs with softly-sung, inoffensive lyrics to make a match that couldn’t be any more perfect. A track like “The Author” meshes the best of Edwin McCain and Tonic with the noisiness of Husker Du and early Replacements to create a road trip song that would be equally received at a Hot Topic or in a van full of crusty-punk kids. Not content to paint themselves into a corner, the follow up track to “The Author”, “Judas Kiss” opens up much more chaotically and its energetic undercurrent gets the chance to bubble over at times. “Judas Kiss”, if enough kids would have the chance to listen to it, could be the next “Stephen” or “Guernica”.

With the ability to stretch out their songs much beyond the typical track lengths that pop-punk or emo songs usually devote to themselves, The Academy are able to create a sense of cohesion without becoming repetitive in any sense of the term. In fact, while I was reviewing this album, I found it extremely hard to discern the endings and beginnings of certain tracks; the disc should be taken as an entity with numerous foci instead of a segmented effort with determinable endings and beginnings. Blasting the ultimate line “You don’t know what it is to regret” in their “In Our Defense”, Bill’s vocals are an aural ten pound hammer – one will be permanently affected by eir’s intensity.

Each track on this self-titled EP, excepting the first, is equally as fitting to be on popular rock-radio. Everything to everyone, the technical ability of the members of The Academy is such to interlace extremely difficult and complex arrangements alongside brutal, simple and driving lines to ensure the widest scattershot of listeners. Instead of diluting their sound to achieve commercial success, The Academy comes onto the scene intense and thirsty for blood – their influence is such that their vampric thirst becomes the listeners. That is, by the end of this all-too-short CD, individuals want more.

Top Track: Judas Kiss

Rating: 8.5/10

The Academy Is– Self-Titled EP / 2004 LLR Recordings / 6 Tracks / / / Released 23 March 2004 / Reviewed 23 May 2004

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