The Academic follow on the momentum from their 2018 debut with a slick sophomore that barely breaks a sweat.
When their debut dropped in Tales From The Backbeat in 2018, the precedent was set as the boys to watch in the glamours of those rock circles. Enthused with the hooks of The Strokes and the post-punk modernism of Interpol, the Irish quartet knew they were sitting on something gold. With their debut hitting commercial success on all varying angles in the music world, it was safe to assume that their dedicated audience were more than ready for their return.
Enter: Sitting Pretty. Four years later, The Academic’s sophomore follow up sees them facing life in their twenties head-on; with the shifting sense of self and ever-changing scenery that accompanies that period of life. Of course, they’ve kept their cards pretty close to the chest still firing off those feel-good indie hooks – that much is evident in buoyant Don’t Take It Personally and even the darkened post-punk start-me-up Pushing Up Daisies – but have bent it out of sorts with a more cerebral, mature outlook to the extent of their songwriting, that takes it out of more teenage indie heartthrob to a more evolved collective of what they once were.
“Sitting Pretty is about the entrance into true adulthood and how that can alienate you from yourself, making you feel like you’re playing a supporting role in your own life,” the band explain. “In one moment feeling 100% certain about everything, only to become overwhelmed with feelings of aimlessness and lack of direction in the next.”
Wake up not feeling too pretty/I need to pack it in/I’m decorated with pity/I’ll take it on the chin..Pushing Up Daisies, The Academic
It is a sheer sign of a band simply cutting loose and maturing into themselves, as they learn the footholds of working with a major label for the first time and understanding the difficulty of that second album. It’s safe to say that they’ve neither buckled under the pressure or accepted for second-grade material. My Very Best is at their most extensive so far, a remarkably “indie” record, but albeit blazoned with The Academic’s watermark of music layered in echoic instrumentation and pop-bravodo vocalism that just adds to the sanded layers that comes with their work. Homesick is another prime example, a subtle indie-pop chapter all in good will. We then see the magic of pop-synth entering the fold on Heartbreak Where It’s At; that sounds like an unfiltered dance-floor groove fit for those 80’s corduroy pants. Step My Way embarks more into the trends of summer-solstice Vampire Weekend and their A-Punks; both bands fitting to my life is a movie playlist. We’re thrown into a higher gear with the cathartic Let Go Of My Heart throwing our emotions into overdrive once again.
From those early days at local battle of the bands competitons and playing half-empty pubs on bingo night, the band now take to much larger stages across the globe, certainly now as a bonafide band with two records to their name. The Mullingar boys hit a crowd of about 50,000 for their Electric Picnic set last year, will they do the same this year for our Summer crowds?
The band’s UK tour in Spring will include a wee visit to London’s Shepherds Bush Empire alongside stops at Manchester, Birmingham and Barrowlands, Glasgow tonight.
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