The debut album from Irish four-piece The Academic is brimming with energy and potential. The band, singer Craig Fitzgerald, drummer Dean Gavin, and brothers Matt and Stephen Murtagh, guitar and bass respectively, have been building up a following across the Irish Sea since forming as teenagers in 2013.
They are now ready to take on the rest of the world. The fresh faced outfit, now all in their 20s, have delivered on their early promise with 'Tales From The Backseat'. The album is full of indie rock bangers with shiny hooks and occasional nods in the direction of American pop-punk. Their best known song 'Bear Claws' is the undoubted highlight and has already been released as a single and an innovative Facebook Live video.
The lyrics can be slightly naive and clunky but this is due to many being written when the band were in their teens and will doubtless improve with time and experience. It’s easily overlooked by the quality of the catchy melodies that you will likely be singing or humming for days afterwards.
All four of the band bring personality and individual musical tastes to the table with all member’s fondness for New York rock, such as The Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, being stamped all over the album but that is not to say it lacks originality, far from it. The 33 minute, 10 song collection wastes no time in grabbing you with opener 'Permanent Vacation's huge chorus. It’s confident but never quite strays into being cocky.
Matt says the songs: “give the world a glimpse of what adolescent life is like in small town Ireland,” but the subjects tackled of friends, fallings out and often unrequited love are likely to be ones to which many can relate far beyond their country. The final song, 'Girlfriends', suggest they perhaps got girls in the end.
'Tales From the Backseat' is a rock solid debut full of promise – it will be exciting to see what comes next.
Words: Ealasaid MacAlister
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