I confess I hadn’t given a proper chance to The Academy Is. When I listened to “Fast Times At Barrington High” for the first time, I did it not knowing what to expect. All the information I had about it was that it was the third installment of a band overlooked in an overcrowded genre. Now I know that it is also the perfect album for the summer (whatever remains of it).
Plain and simple, this is a pop punk album. It doesn’t have pretensions to be something else. However, “Fast Times At Barrington High” excels at it. Not only is it full of infectious songs and catchy lyrics, but it is also a very diverse record considering the fact that it doesn’t push the boundaries of the genre. You won’t feel that you are listening to the same song over and over again. Additionally, the production by Sam Hollander and Dave Katz (Gym Class Heroes, We The Kings, Metro Station) is impeccable and William Beckett –the lead singer- has a very enjoyable voice, perfect for this kind of music. If you want to grasp an idea of how this album sounds, think of The Beach Boys meeting The All-American Rejects meeting Jack’s Mannequin.
The LP starts with “About a Girl”, which is the first single and is just an appetizer for what is yet to come. The second song, “Summer Hair = Forever Young”, is the one who lets you realize this is indeed a special album because it will get you out of your seat dancing at the rhythm of its extremely catchy chorus. The same happens with the third track, “His Girl Friday”, which deals with the subject of hooking up with somebody else’s girlfriend. The next great tune is “Automatic Eyes” at number six position, which will get inside of your head in spite of not being as fast paced as the previously mentioned tracks. The next highlight is the memorable “Coppertone”, a song about leaving the teenager years behind. “After The Last Midtown Song”, the following song, is a beautiful piano ballad about the only girl William Beckett has ever loved according to himself. By the way, the piano in this great track is played by someone you may have heard of: Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin fame. My favorite tune in the record, notwithstanding, is the final track: “One More Weekend”, a hook-laden piece about realizing that as you grow up, everything changes.
With this album, The Academy Is have demonstrated to me that despite the saturation of punk rock bands in the music scene, they don’t deserve to be overlooked at all. They are head and shoulders above most of their competition. Please give them a try.
I think you can apply to music the old saying: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". So, in my opinion, this is a five stars good album... I think it doesn't have a single bad track and I definitely love the standout songs I mentioned in the review. Right now, I feel that I can listen to the album over and over again... and that's what in my mind a five stars album should do to me... Trust me, I don't give five stars very often...
5 Stars? Really?
I mean, it's good, but 5 stars good?