Release Date: Aug 19, 2008
Record label: Fueled By Ramen
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
For half a decade, the Academy Is... watched from the sidelines as Fall Out Boy became the Midwestern kings of emo. Fast Times at Barrington High makes a well-deserved grab for the crown, though, flaunting a combination of rock & roll bombast and pop-schooled songwriting. It's hard to tell how much credit belongs to frontman William Beckett, whose vocals and songwriting skills have nicely progressed since the band's debut, and which accolades go to Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, the production team otherwise known as S*A*M & Sluggo.
This Illinois quartet’s name may mysteriously trail off, but one thing’s for sure: The Academy Is…Loves…Girls. Much like their labelmates Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco the band adheres to the poppier, more anthemic end of the emo spectrum, and eschews the genre’s poor-me platitudes for good times — specifically, the kind that you can have with the opposite sex. Songs like ”About a Girl” and ”Coppertone” are sunny, jangling, and easily melodic — ideal dog-days-of-summer distractions.
While most bands, especially young ones with a teenage following, attempt greater "maturity" with each new release, the Academy Is have stuck with the tried-and-true summer fun formula. The tunes are peppy and driving, the performances and production polished to a fault, and the lyrics simultaneously celebratory and wistful. Released just over a year after the Chicago band's last album, Fast Times has impressive immediacy.