Remarkably, Web sites such as Absolute Punk have dismissed the band's recent work, mistakenly saying that TAI was better in its earlier clichéd pop-punk days. Sounding like Fall Out Boy didn't suit them on the debut, and their second album was disjointed and experimental, but TAI hit their stride on their third album, which managed to draw attention from reviewers who don't regularly shop at Hot Topic.

The Academy Is . . . performance means shorter lines for beer.
The Academy Is . . . performance means shorter lines for beer.

On the new EP, like the best moments of Barrington High (and there were plenty, including "About a Girl" and "Summer Hair=Forever Young"), songs like "I'm Yours Tonight" and "New York (Saint in the City)" would have fit on the soundtrack of a John Hughes film in which an outcast sits on the hood of a car overlooking the city as Beckett sings about the deep longing for something he can never have. Even if your teen-angst days are long behind you (as mine definitely are), there's a lot to appreciate in the band's songcraft. I wouldn't dare compare The Academy Is . . . to under-appreciated legends like Alex Chilton or The Replacements, but if you're tired of living in the past glories of power pop, you'll appreciate what William Beckett and company have to offer, even if you might be the only person in the 21-and-over section at one of their shows.

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