William Beckett - Walk the Talk EP
Record Label: Yike Records
Release Date: April 17th, 2012
"Attention, attention, may I have all your eyes and ears to the front of the room if only, if only for one second?"
Former pop-rock outfit The Academy Is... asked for, and then grabbed, the attention of us all back in 2005 with their debut record, Almost Here. Clever lyrics combined with familar yet refreshing melodies -- synthesized by frontman William Beckett's staple vocals -- made it widely regarded as a classic within the genre. The band subsequently spawned two more full-lengths that were considered let downs compared to Almost Here, despite advancing musically with their follow-up, Santi (2007) and having a more polished nature featured in their swan song, Fast Times at Barrington High (2008). Regardless of where the albums would rank on their overall discography, the group disbanded in late 2011 while in the process of making a fourth record.
Eyes steered towards Beckett for what his next move would be, and a venture into going solo wasn't neccessarily surprising for those accustomed with Remember Maine, his acoustic project at age 17. Remember Maine paved the way for The Academy Is... much like their break-up is paving the way for Beckett's solo career, and with his debut release, Walk the Talk, it's evident that the demise of The Academy Is... was the best thing that could have happened.
The four song EP offers what Beckett is able to do on his own -- but it's obviously not going to sound the same as it would have 10 years ago with Remember Maine. Rather, a lot of it flashes back to a poppier version of The Academy Is' Santi, as it's filled with crisp production and the huge hooks that Beckett is known best for. Not to mention, the Butch Walker vibes throughout, especially on the opener and first single, "Compromising Me," would make Walker a perfect fit to produce his eventual full-length. It's almost as if Beckett is repeating the opening line to Almost Here's "Attention" in the aforementioned "Compromising Me" -- like he's asking for the attention of everyone once again. Just like the first time, he won't have any problems doing it now.
Last we heard Beckett's voice was on The Academy Is' final official release, the Lost in Pacific Time EP in 2009. Some years have passed, but Walk the Talk proves that his voice hasn't lost a single ounce of emotion. In fact, its even gained some welcomed flare to it, most prevalent in "Girl, You Shoulda Been a Drummer." "Girl, You Shoulda Been a Drummer" contains one of the best choruses that Beckett has written, while the bouncy "Oh, Love!" continues the EP's hot streak of straight-up rockers best suited for blasting on a hot afternoon. The closing ballad, "You Never Give Up," shows insight into what the serious side of his solo work consists of, and it suits him just as well as the upbeat tracks do.
Overall, Walk the Talk showcases a level of confidence in Beckett's music that had arguably been lacking for the latter part of The Academy Is' career, and it'll be a pleasant surprise for those who are just getting introduced to his sound or had previously written him off in the past. Those whose wounds still haven't healed yet from the untimely break-up, these couple of songs still stay true to the general direction of music that Beckett has created his entire career and honestly, Almost Here and Walk the Talk have more in common than you'd think. For all the times that somebody got their first taste of The Academy Is... by hearing "Slow Down" blaring from a friend's speakers, the same will most likely occur with Beckett's "Compromising Me" -- and that's all before a proper full-length has even hit shelves. Once it does, there's no doubt that another potential classic will be on our hands.
Honestly will check this out but Santi was better than Almost Here and I love both records. Owned Almost Here and when Santi definitely topped it. I will admit Fast Times was a bit of a let down but still was a fun sunny day record. I am interested to listen to this cause I think his vocals were always some of the best.