Thursday, March 29, 2007

the neighbors have complained damn near every night.



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.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

remember maine was when william was extremely nasally. even almost here you can hear how nasally his voice still was. On Santi...that nasalliness is gone. i think that is the biggest improvement. williams vocals have improved so much, it's astonishing. i know how voices works and i know the difference between strained and nasally. the notes he hits on Santi are effortless. He's not forcing it.

I don't like every song on this album...however, i don't think a lot of it is dancey rock. aside from lax, big mess and bulls in brooklyn i think a lot of this album is very experimental for their sound. some songs have a retro feel to them, while other songs remind me of a heavier sound but very beatles influenced. Sorry dude, but i think you completely missed it with this review

i still love you though! <3 amsa

Anonymous said...

hm...im gonna be honest, i haven't heard it but i was afraid reviews would be like this, i really want to like it too, i guess we'll see.

Kathrine said...

i do agree.

Adina said...

Did you review this CD based on the MTV2 stream? I'm not sure you can really review the quality of the sound from that. They usually compress audio a lot for streams so that they take up less bandwith.

lizziee said...

it's true some of the songs, you just gotta change it.

but after listening to it a while, it's okayy, but you just don't feel the beat xO

however, i thought Lax to O'hare was really good Sleeping With Giants, and Chop Chop.

Neighbors was good to, it sounded like their own style that time :D

Ali said...

I disagree with pretty much everything you said here. So here goes.

This album HARDLY caters to the FOB audience. If anything, TAI is running in the other direction (understandably, too).

TAI are not jumping on the "dance rock" bandwagon. While some of the songs are a bit more "dancey' than their previous efforts, there's more punch and far more power on Santi than there was on Almost Here.

Santi is more rock and roll than Almost Here was.

As far as everything "running together" have you actually listened to the album? The instruments really stand out. Particularly the drums and the guitar parts.

This album wasn't over produced, and I'm so thankful for that. Most albums really are, and it can kill a lot of stuff that sounds 50 times better live. This album, on the other hand, actually captures their true sound.

and William's voice sounds incredible. He's grown so much as a lyricist and as a vocalist.

I can see exactly where this change of sound came from: their influences? It's very classic rock influenced, grunge influenced, there's even some 80s power pop in there.

It's 200 times better than Almost Here, and I adore that album.

Anonymous said...

For me, I've come to accept the fact that they aren't going to make an Almost Here part 2 and I'm glad that they are trying something new.

I think the instruments sound much better on Santi than Almost Here and they're really improved.

I disagree with you about William's voice. I think it sounds the best it ever has and I find it amazing on Santi.

I also have read several people say they disliked the lyrics because they were repetitive (even though Almost Here is very much repetitive) and I'm glad you noticed that on Santi they are more abstract. I like the new style.

I loved the CD the first time I heard it but I think it's going to take some people a few listens to get use to the new vibe. But my favorite songs are Same Blood and Seed. I like all the rest, however those two I could listen to over and over again like I do Classifieds.

Anonymous said...

Well, I haven't heard the cd yet, but I'd just like to say your review was very well-written. I'm a Journalism major, and I'm such a dork when it comes writing. :) So kudos!

But yeah, from the singles and what the band itself has said about this cd, I'm not sure how fans are going to take this out-of-nowhere shift in music.

However, what old fans will hate about it newer folk garnered from MTV2 and Rolling Stone will love. I guess the question is which group is more important to them....

Soma said...

Do you mean dance rocky as in... like Cobra Starship or..? I mean, I'm really bad with genres or subgenres, so I don't totally get it, but, I do have to agree with someone else who replied that this isn't catering too much to FOB audience as it doesn't really SOUND like them (plus TAi lyrics make more sense than FOB lyrics any day). I mean, if anything, I feel like they're playing up the whole Chicago Crew thing - like some sort of "scene" Rat Pack.

BUT, as far as Seed goes, definitely agreed. I can also understand the qualms with Butch Walker's production. The vocals sound detached and distant, which is okay for some songs, but not every single one.

You know you're still going to have an awesome time at their shows. They need to do a headlining tour like now, so you can take awesome photos.

PS I like your blog.

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