American Werewolf Academy
Listening to American Werewolf Academy is like watching your favorite dumb comedy for the 15th time--fun in a nostalgic way, even when you know what's going to happen next. But clocking in at just over 20 minutes, Tell Them Right Now! is a lot quicker of a pick-me-up than that old Tommy Boy DVD. Shorter than most bands' EPs (and just three minutes longer than 2004's Devil, Spit It Out), the Academy's first so-called LP packs 10 songs that aim to reclaim everything that's fun about rock 'n' roll: three-chord simplicity, pounding drums, distorted guitars and teen rebellion.
"From Zeros to Elsewhere" opens with a slow waltz that belies the fast tempo more typical of the group but nonetheless showcases retro touches--a chiming triangle and a cheap-sounding keyboard's approximation of an organ--that keep the Academy from sounding like just another power-pop/punk band. Their rep is reaffirmed quickly; "Bearfield Fight Song" sounds like Will Johnson singing with Guided By Voices, and "The Good Time Kids" gushes about how the kids your parents hated always had the most fun, bringing in a cowbell and hand claps to drive the point home. Former Robot Monster Weekend singer/guitarist Aaron Thedford comes up with hooks that'll have you singing even the most nonsensical lines to yourself for hours afterward. The chorus of closer "Live Like Kings Forever" sums up AWA so neatly it practically begs for an impressed reviewer to quote it: "Trying to open doors with the same three chords/It's a beautiful thing." --Jesse Hughey
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