(fast times at barrington high) by The Academy Is...

Teens and power pop have always walked hand in hand, sometimes offering strong, driven rock and at other times generic rebellion. (fast times at barrington high) by The Academy Is... offers plenty of teen angst, romance, and rebellion -- with a dash of life beyond the teen years.

The opening song "About A Girl" sets the tone of uncertainty for the album: After lead singer William Beckett sings about a girl who doesn't notice him but drives him wild, the chorus tells us "I'm not in love/this is not my heart/I'm not gonna waste these words/about a girl." In the midst of the hanging out with friends and chasing women, the songs here hint at an awareness of growing up. One song cautions "but this charade is never going to last/so pick the poison and pour yourself a glass" while "After the Last Midtown Show" has the protagonist and friends just drinking and smoking, then asking "Is there anything I missed?/ Is there anything I missed?/Tell me if I'm wrong/But why would we change a thing?" The final tune, one more weekend, is a call to a buddy to hang out once more as he prepares to move away -- and grow up. Even the potnetially comic song of young man singing to his much older lover ("Beware! Cougar!") resists cheap laughs or easy bragging.

(fast times at barrington high) buttresses its ideas with rock and roll that's loud and fast, full of strong percussion and electric guitars in abundance. It's a shame that this album came out in late August, because (in a world with less mainstream repetition on the radio) this would have made a great soundtrack for the summer. With (fast times at barrington high) The Academy Is... joins groups like Jimmy Eat World and Plain White T's as groups that may seem for the teens but can be enjoyed by all.

Overall Grade: B+

Reviewed by James Lynch

1 comment:

punk.rox.182 said...

Great review, especially the part where you likened TAI to JEW and Plain White T's!