The Academy Is... - Santi.
Alright. I am trying very hard to like this album. TAI are one of my favorite bands, and Almost Here is one of my favorite albums of all time. But this...but Santi...I don't know what to make of it.
The Academy Is have almost completely turned to dance rock with this CD. Dance rock is the hot new trend in the scene, and TAI have jumped on that bandwagon. This, plus their video tie in with Fall Out Boy, make it abundantly clear that they are marketing themselves to FOB's radio audience, even more so than ever before.
I also am not a fan of Butch Walker's production. It's way overdone - William Beckett's vocals are all nasal and strained, when he hasn't sounded nasal since his days as Remember Maine. The instrumentation is all overprocessed too - nothing stands out - it all runs together. "Bulls In Brooklyn" in particular sounds like it could have been lifted straight off the Butch Walker And The Let's Go Out Tonites album.
All this being said, there are a few good tracks on the album. The opener, "Same Blood," is particularly good. It draws you in (and makes you think you're in for a treat with this album). The lyrics are more abstract than anything previous to this. Luckily, this style of lyricism continues throughout the album, which is a step up from the very straightforward lyrics of Almost Here.
"We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands" has definitely grown on me - I am sure this will be a summer favorite this year, mostly due to the hook in the chorus.
In my opinion, "Seed" might be the best song they've ever written. It's mature without being stuffy, and Beckett's voice sounds very nice here.
Unfortunately, everything after "Seed" is completely forgettable. There are no driving hooks, no lyrics or riffs that jump out. The songs sound very similar and uninteresting unless you're reading the lyrics along with the songs.
When a band has this drastic a change in sound, usually you can at see where it came from, or trace it back to key songs in the past. With Santi, I can't seem to do that. It's completely out of left field. There was not any indication of dance rock on Almost Here or the From The Carpet EP (whatever happened to The Fever and Pour Yourself A Drink anyways?). I feel that a lot of this may have been due to Butch Walker's heavy hand in this project. Again, I'm trying to like it, but I just can't.
Standout tracks: Seed, Same Blood, We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands.