There's no way this is over anytime soon. Emo may already be a dirty word in alternative circles but it's only just begun to divert into the mainstream. For the people who watch CD:UK, My Chemical Romance are a new vogue, the edgiest rock sound since Limp Bizkit, and although Fred Durst is a joke now remember exactly how long nu-metal lasted. Try to forget how bad it got though and say hello to the new (nu?) kids on the block, two groups of pretty boys with guitar-powered pop songs, emo's great white hopes.
Both building huge buzz and collecting fans through the Internet, both signed to Fall Out Boy Pete Wentz's Decaydence label and both just finished a quickly sold out UK tour without an official release between them the grammatically difficult Panic! At The Disco and The Academy Is.. are bands that, if not already on your radar, are about to crash straight into your musical eye view.
The similarities between the groups' early good fortunes are outweighed by musical differences. Sure they both deal in dead catchy rock-lite that is stuffed with quirky hooks and heart-on-sleeve cleverness but where The Academy drive their tunes straight and hard with a classic rock punch, Panic! meld their skipping guitars with stuttering synth thuds, dance beats, lilting strings or classical piano.
It's Panic!'s mix that works best. A game of two halves, their debut is divided; by an 'Intermission' no less, between the computer-enhanced digital-dance of the first part and the dark orchestral restraint of the last. So where 'Time To Dance' comes fully loaded with its own call-and-response hooks and 'Nails For Breakfast...' is peppered with the kind of effects Cher made famous, 'Build God...' sounds like a warped years-old Disney soundtrack. The whole thing is tied together by the driest of humour and the wildest of imagination.
The Academy Is... aren't short a song or two designed with screaming crowds in mind either. 'Attention' is a simple but killer opener that went down well on tour and 'Down And Out' is a moment of genuine emotion that just about balances out the exaggerated breathlessness elsewhere but it's the gorgeously made 'Checkmarks' that comes closest to making a real impact.
There's no more cool points to be had from owning these, it's too late. Soon everyone will have them. But that doesn't stop them sounding really rather good.
However, despite this and all the other sycophantic press both bands have received their albums share one more similarity, a fuck-you tune dedicated to Mr. Magazine; those critical website writers and prying journalists, so they probably couldn't care less what moderaterock thinks anyway.
At least the zeitgeist has its martyrs now.
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