REVIEW: The Academic ‘Sitting Pretty’

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In the current musical sphere, Ireland is a hotbed for some of the most exciting post-punk bands around. The Murder Capital, Gilla Band and the unstoppable Fontaines DC are reshaping music in their own image.

Now, Mullingar’s, The Academic, are bringing their own twist to a classic indie-sleaze sound. Switching out the dark, brooding drones for true pop-rock anthems and earworms that will swirl in your head for the rest of the day.

Opening up the album is, ‘Pushing Up Daisies’, which kicks off the album with a true classic rock riff. Heavy and dirty, the riffs shred their way through your speakers, instantly grabbing your attention. The vocals have a true swagger to them, a coolness that is just infectious.

There is a true pop mentality to choruses throughout the album, highlighted within, ‘Don’t Take It Personally’. The riffs are less braggadocios than the album opener, which allows the vocals room to breathe. It takes the vocal elements from 60’s pop and blends them expertly with elements of 80’s rock. This is continued within, ‘Heartbreak’s Where It’s At’ which takes influence from a more modern branch of indie-pop, sounding reminiscent of bands such as the 1975 and Blossoms with its seamlessly incorporated electro-pop elements.

The album does have its slower, more downbeat moments such as, ‘Homesick’ with it’s almost psychedelic guitar tones. The bass provides an excellent anchor for the rest of the track swirl around giving it the feeling of the end of a long night out.

At certain points within the album you are crying out for a bit of diversity within its tracklisting. This is epitomised within, ‘Do What You Want’. The track features a slow, melodic opening which tells of heartbreak. The vocals are vulnerable and truly captivating. However, it soon breaks into yet another, ‘indie banger’ with it removing any true emotion from the aforementioned tender moments. Although it does try to maintain this feeling, it’s hard to be truly invested in these late stages of the album.

Closing out the album is, ‘Buying Smokes’ which is the highpoint of the album. Opening with a tender piano riff (which sounds suspiciously like Karma Police by Radiohead) it provides the versatility that the record has been begging for. The vocals are clean and packed with soul providing a darker, more brooding edge to the track which is then juxtaposed with the optimism of the melodic structure.

‘Sitting Pretty’ is a great slice of indie-rock in the ilk of The Courteeners or the aforementioned Blossoms. If indie-bangers are what you’re after The Academic are the band for you. However, you can’t help but feel that the band do have more feathers to their cap that you wish they’d have brought to the table. That being said it’s a great album to blast out whilst on your way to a festival.