steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

And Academy

"Aids" CDR

Mayhaps Records

Genre: lo-fi, indie pop

July 21 2008

An hour of lo-fi pop music is difficult to pull off successfully, and while many have attempted the feat, few have sidestepped failure. Active for ten years now, And Academy has given it their best shot with the inexplicably titled Aids, and, well, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Going through this album, it frustrates me to no end how Aids can be at times so amazing, and at other times so mediocre.

We'll begin with the bad news - Aids is a record that builds over time. In fact, the first two tracks are two of its worst. Although second track "Seven Years Breaking Broken Bad Luck and Good" has a warm bliss-pop sound, melodically it is one of this disc's dryest moments. Also lacking in efficacious hooks are "The Immaculate Divine" and "Hello Moon," though the dreamy, unique texture of the latter manages to save it from the waste bin.

Unsurprisingly, the best songs on Aids are the most original. And Academy are no strangers to unusual song structures, and this album is full of departures from the verse/chorus formula. The best song, "Blast Off," is a spacey, psychedelic rock song that builds rather than cycles; the end result is a lo-fi acid-rock classic with an absolutely killer melody. Also enjoyable are the shifting melodies of "Jugglin' Sunny Stars" and the psych-pop of "Rush'N Zap Attack," which transforms halfway through in to a magnificent instrumental. The beautiful sixties-drenched vocals and Moog-like synths of "Moonlighting Paula Jane" are also worthy of note to psych-pop lovers.

Aids is a unique and engaging lo-fi album that manages to transcend its production limitations to produce something distinctly its own. The frequently psychedelic pop experiment that results doesn't always work out - but when it does, it's truly something special.

and academy's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released 2008]