ALBUM: The Academic – ‘Tales From The Backseat’

The Academic have been on our radar ever since ‘Northern Boy’ was released back in 2015 and finally the Irish quartet have released their debut album Tales From The Backseat (on Downtown Records).

For those lucky enough to hear ‘Permanent Vacation’ last year, you will know all about the band’s flair for a chorus and can rival contemporaries like Circa Waves and Two Door Cinema Club when it comes to an indie-disco filler.  Craig Fitzgerald sings about  life in small town Ireland, not fitting in and adolescent romantic woes, though the band aren’t going to trouble Morrissey for lyrical content – “Give me your hand and we can say hello. Your daddy is big, but his mind is slow” – they can definitely write a pop song.

From the previous mentioned album opener ‘Permanent Vacation’ through to ‘Girlfriends’, the 10-track album flies by; standout tracks are ‘Bear Claw’ (probably their most well known single to date) ‘Different’ and ‘Fake ID’ – all possess a knack for instant familiarity, which could also be the band’s downfall. Though The Academic have a craft for writing a catchy pop-song they have yet to find their own sound and so many times during the album you could be mistaken for thinking you are listening to the new album by Circa Waves or The Wombats.

They wear their influences on their sleeve which is common for a lot of new bands and hopefully with time and confidence, they can start to find their own identity as they certainly have the flair for songwriting.

An exciting debut album with so much promise. I’m always a fan for an album that doesn’t exceed its welcome and running in at just over half an hour means it’s going to be the perfect  record for morning commute. Hope they put that on their posters. The Academic are surely going to one to check out live on the upcoming festival circuit, as these songs are perfect for the a long summer’s night of awkward shaping throwing and it will be interesting to finally see how the band work in the live arena.


Fran Jolley