The Academy Is.
About to embark on a huge American tour with +44 and label mates Fall Out Boy, The Academy Is. are a quintet hailing from Chicago. Tipped in some quarters to cross over to the mainstream this year, "Santi" is the follow up to their 2005 debut album "Almost Here".
Beginning with a wall of guitars, "Same Blood" begins the record in heavier fashion to its predecessor, before reaching a big chorus that is the ideal way to open an album. "LAX To O'Hare" has a touch of Panic! At The Disco about it and is built on a funky bass, before lead single and standout track "We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands" shows qualities that should see it become a live favourite. It is an impressive swagger with which these tracks are delivered, something that continues through the likes of "Chop Chop" and "Unexpected Places".
It would be easy for TAI. to knock out a dozen sound-a-likes, but thankfully they don't and show they have a few more tricks up their sleeve. "Everything We Had" is full-on emo-ballad, with a lighter-waving chorus that is accompanied by swooning strings the second time round. Formulaic it may be, but in a good way. Edging toward stadium rock, "Neighbours" brings to mind recent U2, while "Bulls In Brooklyn" is in a jazz style before rocking out. "Santi" is an impressive offering that makes you sit up and take notice of a band with punk roots but with aspirations to be much more, with this being the first step on that journey.