The Academy Is...: Santi

If TAI came out 10 years ago, they'd be Fuel. 20 years ago, they'd be White Lion. Both were decent bands who wrote decent songs, received decent reviews, earned decent followings, and were completely inconsequential.

There's nothing wrong with TAI. They're earnest, passionate, serious, sentimental, and they write good pop songs. They've listened to The Police a little bit more than most of their peers have, and it's rare that listening to The Police can be a bad thing.

But who really cares? These guys aren't any different than a dozen other earnest, passionate, serious, sentimental bands who write good pop songs. At least Panic! at the Disco took some musical chances on the second half of A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, which is something that TAI never does. (And no, copping Sting's bass lines, name-dropping Lemony Snicket's novels, and speeding up the vocal hook from "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" don't qualify as taking musical chances.)

Music: 2.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
This is fine if you like emo or indie or pop-punk. If you're the kind of person who gets all worked up explaining why emo or indie or pop-punk is the greatest form of music ever, period, then you'll probably love Santi. Otherwise, it's pretty forgettable. The lyrics are simple (although they try to be smart), the music is predictable, and the production is thin despite being slicker than snot.

Packaging: 2.5 EPFL library cards out of a possible 5
The same cover idea was executed much more effectively by Pet Shop Boys on Fundamental, but it's not bad here. Any band that tries to cram two or three songs' worth of illegible, hand-written scrawl onto one panel of a CD jacket doesn't deserve to have their words read. Photographers Marvin Scott Jarrett and Jack Edinger caught some creative images of the generic "band in a rehearsal studio" scene, and the back page of the insert contains a nice bit of graphic design.

Listen if you like: Fall Out Boy or Panic! at the Disco.

If it were food, it'd be: McDonald's.

No comments: