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Almost Here, But Not Quite...
on 18 May 2007
Chances are, when 'Fueled By Ramen' is identified as this band's record label, the majority have already decided whether this band is their new craze or their new band they love to hate, such is the reputation of Pete Wentz record label.
Needless to say, The Academy Is.. fit in perfectly with their labelmates, as is demonstrated on this fine debut album. With their never-too-loud guitars and sweet spot for catchy pop melodies, 'Almost Here' is full of tunes that will linger in your head for an age. 'Attention' offers the record a strong start, lively and full of exuberance as it catches the listeners attention (ironically) at the first opportunity, and the quality of material maintains this standard thereafter the opener. 'Slow Down' is already an anthem in the overpopulated 'emo' catalogue, bursting with bravado and a touch of bitterness. 'The Phrase That Pays' features some of William Becketts most witty lyrics, but Beckett is undoubtedly at his best lyrically in 'Black Mamba', a venemous attack on the music media, and more particularly, the band's critics.
So, why does this album only get 3 out of 5? Despite this being a strong, quality debut, it does very little to distance itself from it's contemporaries. This is in no means an innovative album, as it lacks in variety, every track sounding somewhat similar to the one before it, maybe with the exception of 'The Phrase That Pays'.
All in all however, if this drawback was going to deter you, you would never have read this far anyway. In todays climate of musical preferences, you will either love this albujm or you will hate it, but looking at this album alone, based on quality, 'Almost Here' is a fine debut to The Academy Is... name.
by Chris Spencer