The Academic – Tales from the Backseat

The Irish group’s debut is full of joyous moments that will be the soundtrack to many teens summers for years to come.

Released, January 12th 2018, Room 6 Records. 

If Tales from the Backseat had a summer release date, it’s more than possible that it could have been swept under the rug, being pushed into a crowded shelf of indie LP’s all fighting for that summer-soundtrack title. The Academic’s smartest move with Tales from the Backseat undoubtedly is its January release date enforcing the prowess of the indie-rockers debut, helping to set their work as the standard to follow for upcoming indie-rock LP’s throughout the year.

On lead singles Bear Claws and Different, The Academic showcase two sides to conventional indie-rock anthems while still being innovative enough to standout in 2018. Bear Claws flows with a stylistically suave approach as steadily paced guitars mingle into Craig’s well crafted vocals, showcased even more strongly through the Facebook Live version of the track they released in 2017.

Different, on the other hand, being their first professional single casts aside sing-alongs, reaching for the louder, more rambunctious festival crowd, as roaring choruses of buzzing guitars and “I want you, I love that you’re different” will undoubtedly continue to resonate strongly throughout their live performances.

Following tracks I Feel It Too and Bite My Tongue find themselves somewhere in the middle as the formulaic style of Bear Claws can be found, while Different’s buzzing energy is as equally present. I Feel It Too comes ready with choruses that are meant to be echoed back towards the group, while Bite My Tongue plays with the youthful narrative of young relationships, the ups and down, the trauma and dramatics that being a teenager provides.

Northern Boy and Girlfriends provide Tales from the Backseats more reigned in moments, with enough of a pleasant seriousness on Northern Boy to provide a euphoric form of motivation for young male listeners to express themselves, while Girlfriends multiple examples of female lovers and their willing boyfriends is the closest The Academic come to a ‘sombre’ moment, without moving past the point of good taste, instead vying for a well crafted closing track.

Tales from the Backseat’s crowning achievement is being an indie-rock album that pleases both loyal fans and newcomers to The Academic. A contemporary approach to the traditional style of an indie-rock/pop LP sees the Irish group create an LP that contains enough high points to immediately be labelled as an album that kicked of 2018 in grand fashion.

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