Album Review: The Academic – Tales From The Backseat

For those who don’t know, when you go use Facebook Live, there is a slight delay incurred between when things happen and when you see them on the screen. You might be wondering how this relates to The Academic or their album Tales From The Backseat, but bear with me, the result is rather amazing. The band managed to turn Facebook Live into a loop pedal due to said delay and it’s a must-watch. But now that the the Irish indie-rock quartet’s debut album is out, can they prove themselves to be more than just a technical gimmick?

Permanent Vacation’ opens the album with choral harmonies, summer-y melodies but it feels like it’s been ripped straight from Circa Waves back catalogue. Followed by the calmer single ‘Bear Claws’ which features lively vocal melodies, but is a dynamic but more laid-back, fun continuation on from ‘Permanent Vacation’.

Different’ shows a darker side to the album, contrasting with shimmering synths and rotating guitars throughout even if it does get slightly repetitive. But returning to form, ‘Fake ID’ brings back jaunty guitars to the equation alongside adolescent, even immature lyrics. These dissipate to something more mature as the track progresses. But it’s lively and fun which is all that matters similar to ‘Television’ which makes an appearance further along the album. However ‘Television’ is probably the strongest track on the album with a bubbly chorus, buoyant guitars and just a general overall charm to it.

A slow-burner, also more ballad like alongside ‘I Feel It Too’. ‘Northern Boy’ drags on a bit until it explodes before the second verse and it only starts to build into something epic from then onwards. Delicate and the only track on the album which pulls at the heartstrings. ‘Girlfriends’ pulls the album to a close gradually even in a rather leisurely, ballad-like way to start with and becomes a serenade to end the album.

Although it’s a good album full of potential sing-a-long, indie-pop anthems, for the most part, it’s a bit lacking in unique-ness. Stands well against its peers, but not up to them. It’s a fun album though and definitely one that won’t bore you after one listen.

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