The Academy Is… rocks House of Blues

Erika Kreider

The Academy Is… proves they’re cute, talented hipster rockers.

Credit: Andrew popik

Hidden In Plain View will be visable at the House of Blues Tuesday.

Credit: Andrew popik

Hard work and pure luck sure has paid off for The Academy Is… This rock band from Chicago has not even launched their first major CD, yet is already on tour with Something Corporate.

“If I had the chance I wouldn’t describe our sound, I would just play someone the record. I would say it’s rock, it’s just rock, it hits a lot of different points on the record,” said William Beckett, the lead singer.

This band’s record, Almost Here, has feel-good moments, awesome guitar grinding moments and a few very good strategically placed dramatic pauses. Emotions fly up and down on the ten tracks, leaving a very good sound in one’s ears.

“A lot of music now is melodramatic, it’s dark, and that’s not us,” said Beckett. “Yeah, there’s a lot of shit going on in the world…but there’s a lot of really, really great things as well. We want to focus on the balance, we want to be true to it and be honest with it.”

Musically their influences flow from U2, The Cure, and Death Cab for Cutie. Beckett said his iPod’s 25 most played songs include Elvis, The Beatles’ White Album, and The Shins.

The Academy Is…’ members are Andy Mrotek on drums, Adam Siska on bass, Mike Carden on guitar, Tom Conrad on guitar and back-up vocals and Beckett as the lead singer.

Even though this band has only been together for about five months, they knew “Definitely this is the line-up that The Academy Is… would be,” said Beckett.

“(Mike and I) moved into an apartment together and split a room for a hundred bucks a piece and worked at shitty retail jobs. We came home and would write songs all day. Pretty much that forced us into responsibility and growing up and what we wanted to do with the record.”

“With Mike, we have something that’s strange and it works,” he added.

Living in the small apartment rewarded the guys when it was time to write their lyrics to the songs.

“A lot of the lyrics are inspired by where we were at the time, pretty literally, like in our apartment,” said Beckett. “A lot of it has to do with responsibility, a lot about friendship, a lot about family. We’re really proud of this record because it’s not just about girls.”

Lyrically, a variety of topics are sung about, but the record all ties together, according to Beckett.

All five members of The Academy Is…, and many other people, can connect to all of the songs because they are about everyday things.

“‘Down and Out,’ that’s my baby on the record. I feel really connected to that song,” Beckett said of his personal favorite.

Other stand-out tracks to the band are “Classifieds” and “Slow Down.”

“We try to build something closely knit from the ground up,” Beckett said. “(We and our fans) are like best friends. We try to give them the feeling that some music gives you.”

The band not only works hard on their records, but their base of success rests on touring. A lot of people hear The Academy Is… for the first time at a show since they are not played on the radio yet. Beckett said he loves to see people leave with a smile, especially if it is the first time they hear them.

“We want (the shows) to be about music, about the record and about performance. It’s not about drama or politics, that’s not us,” he said.

Their musical talents scored them the tour with Something Corporate. Not too shabby for a band’s first nationwide tour, and without the release of their first record.

“I’ve been told it was a really close race, but it came down to music,” reported Beckett. “It’s really special and we’re so early on in the game without a record. It’s got to be pretty hard for a band to take us on, but [the tour] is extreme pleasure and it’s going to be really awesome for us.”

Cleveland is on the band’s list of favorite cities to tour.

“People drive states to see us sometimes,” Beckett said. “We show them, at the show, how much it means to us. It’s undeniable.”

Contact pop arts reporter Erika Kreider at [email protected]