William Beckett graduates from The Academy Is... with Walk The Talk
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 21:04
‘Some people have it, and other people don’t,” sang William Beckett, on his former band The Academy Is…’s sophomore album Santi.
The former pop band suddenly took a much more rocking direction with 2007’s Santi’s relatively darker lyrics, in comparison to the 2005 summer-pop debut Almost Here. After reverting back to high school with 2008’s Fast Times at Barrington High, The Academy Is… called it quits.
Shortly after, Beckett announced plans of a solo project.
The way in which Beckett bounced back and forth between musical styles suggests that he did, in fact, “have it.” TAI traveled to many countries and sold out tours, and surely walking away from that was not an easy choice, but one that made sense creatively.
One listen to Beckett’s new EP Walk The Talk, released Tuesday, shows a direction that doesn’t quite fit with where TAI left off, but Beckett does indeed “walk the talk” in attempting to prove he still “has it.”
Long gone are the days of ripping guitars. Instead, a soft drum beat and looping synthesizer are slightly reminiscent of The Cars starts off “Compromising Me.” The hints of Beckett’s TAI days come out in the lower pitch verses, as well as the pre-chorus that summons the high-school themes discussed on Fast Times, such as “I know you’re gonna think I’m not cool enough/ Tell all your friends I’ve screwed it up/ Just let me breathe.” But, it’s not an apathetic song, as the eclectic chorus exclaims “I don’t care what you think about me / I can’t let you be this constant compromising me” in a Patrick-Stump-meets-Foster-The-People-sounding chorus.
Tambourines and thick, fuzzy bass lead in “Girl, You Shoulda Been A Drummer,” which sounds a bit more like Beckett’s past efforts. The handclapped, stop-start guitars are also very summer feeling. The song takes a Third Eye Blind approach by pairing bright music with rather dark lyrics: “Girl you should have been a drummer / Break me down like no other/ You played me so hard so fast.” There are also hints of growth in the tune, which pairs bells with a surf-rock styled solo.
“Oh, Love!” has a Weezer feel, with even more handclapped beats, perky little guitar riffs and sappy lyrics like “Nothing lasts forever, but she makes me want to try/ I’d call across the desert / I’d do that, oh, love!” The organ that layers over the sped up bridge is the perfect complement to the song, giving it a beachy feel right down to the acoustic strummed ending.
While it starts out rather vapid, “You Never Give Up” picks up a bit toward the middle, with a subtle tambourine and softly strummed guitar. Beckett’s falsetto vocals dazzle on the minimalistic track, and while it may not offer much musically at the forefront, it does highlight Beckett’s voice.
Beckett proves that he does “have it”; that is, he can hold his own as a solo musician. And while there are certainly imperfections on the EP, including the occasional “Did he really just sing that?” lyric, and even “What kind of instrument is that?” moments, it only adds to the charm of Walk The Talk’s EP and debut statuses. The album is a step in Beckett’s growth as a solo musician.
While many front persons of bands that split tend to fade away, Beckett revives his name with a refreshing new sound. While it’s vaguely similar to TAI, it would be an injustice to say Beckett didn’t reinvent himself on Walk The Talk. It’s the beginning of what will probably be a bright career for him. Walk the Talk has enough to retain Beckett’s past fans as well as lure in new fans with its exciting pop approach.