Review & Press Interview: ‘Sitting Pretty’ by The Academic

In 2018, the critically acclaimed debut release Tales from the Backseat announces the world of an eager young band full of potential. The name The Academic spread across the world. They had made some noises, but they were still like teenagers, relentless, ambitious, and eager. They still had something to prove. Unlike the bands who were frozen to their past glory, The Academic never stopped moving forwards. In the past four years, they have released two EPs. In Community Spirits, they discover something true to their heart. They reconnected to their childhoods, and from there, their palettes grew. Sitting Pretty sees they taking an even bigger leap of faith. They are blossoming with maturity, taking off like birds flapping their wings across the ocean. Fearless, courageous, and unapologetic. The Academic isn’t shy to show the world who they are and what they stand for. The album feels bold, kaleidoscopic, heartfelt and cathartic at the same time. They takes the audience on a meaningful journey, and in each song, the view is slightly different, but one thing stays true—the sonics are radiating radiating pure, unfiltered energy.

We know that The Academic is a storm, a turmoil from their debut album. They are confrontational, truthful, with their hearts wide open. But Sitting Pretty is also buoyant, energetic, fruity, and luscious. They smoothed out their sharp rock n roll edges with maturity that feels like true liberation. The innocence and free spirit of childhood is being embraced, though the journey sails through the uncertainties and doubts of young adulthood. It’s about self acceptance and finding answers on your own. “It’s about finding your feet. Feeling the weight of time passing on your shoulders, and trying to enjoy the good times and meaningful relationships long the way,” said the band. The feeling of new beginnings joins the glorious end of a tough time.

Sonically, Sitting Pretty experiments and plays with diverse influences that are previously non-existing in the band’s vocabulary. Retro aesthetic from 90s and 80s comes to life in song such as “Heartbreak’s Where It’s At” and “Pushing Up Daisies.” If we were to say that in Community Spirits-era they were still trying to outdo themselves and find answers about who they were as a band, Sitting Pretty comes from a place of knowing and empowerment. They are essentially just “four guys in a room,” playing some really good rock n roll that rides the waves of indie aesthetic while able to scale high.

The band revealed that they had the idea of making Sitting Pretty for quite a while. “Homesick” was written during the time of their first America tour. While most the magic happened in the studio. Instead of fancy productions, they created their own brand of lusciousness with live instruments, finding their truth and sparks in jam and fun. The Academic has announced their fourteen-date The Sitting Pretty Tour of North America, kicking off in Toronto, Canada on April 9, 2023. Be sure to check them out live!

Written by Katrina Yang

Press Q&A with The Academic

Q (Rising Artist Blog): How would you describe the ethos of this album?

The Academic (Craig): I think it’s definitely lively and back to our roots as four guys who like to play music together. We just wanted to get into a studio and to use that as a foundation. For me, it definitely feels like a free-spirited model to the album that runs through. That’s the mindset I took into. We weren’t going to panic and we were just going to let things happen naturally and to see how it all worked.

(Matt): Musically and in comparison to the first one, this album sounds just like a band in a room. You can hear every instrument very clearly. It just sounds like a rock n roll band in a room, with not too many thrills and excises and productions. It’s honest and spontaneous.

(Stephan): Embracing life. One of the influences that we really embraced was the live element. Even though we were in the studio, we beefed through all the happy accidents, jamming our stuff, if we found a piece of magic in that, we were happy to not over think it and just follow our intuition. Just four guys in a room and let it be.

Q (DMBO): What would be the one message you’d like to get to your fans?

The Academic (Matt): To check in with yourself more. If you feel bad about your situation, we’re all going through the same thing at the same time or different times. Check in with yourself more. It’s important to know yourself. I would say that’s a good, positive message.

Q (Musings): There’s four years between Backseat and the new album. How long ago did you start thinking about Sitting Pretty?

The Academic (Craig): The idea was quite old. Even maybe a year ago. “Homesick” was the song that kind of started when we were touring America for the first time. The start of last year was when we made the decision and knew where we were going. We knew we wanted to make the album, and we wanted to do it in London.

(Stephan): At the end of last year, we put out two EPs in 2020 and 2021, and that gave us a huge freedom to experiment songs. When it comes to Sitting Pretty, we knew we’ve gotten a lot of stuff we wanted to try out. We knew exactly what we wanted to do with the album. We knew what we wanted to feel like, we knew the kind of heartfelt, honest, and exposed we wanted.

Q (HAZZE Media): What are some pieces of advice that you received in your 20s that helped you learn to deal with change and inconsistency of being a true adult?

The Academic (Craig): Opening up to people. I know, it’s so simple. Generally, we’ve been really busy, and luckily busy in this band, but at the heart of it is if we take away the music and everything, we’re four best friends. We grew up together and we have the kind of very open way of being with each other. I think that’s something that we always practice. I don’t know if anyone told me that.

(Stephan): My advise I’m thinking is not even something someone said to me. In a Burton movie, Ed Wood (1994) where Ed Wood meets a fictionalized version of Orson Welles. Orson said to Ed Wood that visions are worth fighting for, why spend your life making someone else’s dream. I think that really surfaced from this album in the way that we stay true to what we want to do.

Q: Which songs are you most excited to perform live?

The Academic (Matt): There’s a song called “This Is Your Life.” In the studio, it’s sort of a “house of cards” kind of song where we kept adding instruments and more to it. It felt like if we took one instrument out or add more, it would fall apart. It’s definitely one of the more complex and weird song we’ve ever recorded. We got to play it live before Christmas and got a really good reaction. I’m really excited to see that one go down live.

(Dean): For me, there’s a song called “Right Where You Left Me” and every time we listen to it, I just imagine playing it live. It has that kind of raw energy to it.

Q (The Underground Voice): Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?

The Academic (Dean): Personally, I just like to keep myself calm. Do some simple breathing exercise. Get in the zone and focus. Nothing crazy.

(Matt): Me and Craig, we just like to listen to music. Usually playing stuff that’s heavier and energetic. Just something to get us to pump. And a beer always helps.







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