Coming off the back of the launch of their most recent LP, the critically acclaimed Night Becomes Light, Dublin four piece, Delorentos, embarked on an Irish tour to promote the new album nationwide. As part of the announcement at the start of the tour, The Academic, the up-and-coming Mullingar band, were announced as the support act for the duration of the tour and after attending the Kilkenny part of this tour in November 2014, this writer was left in no doubt that The Academic would soon be moving beyond the role of simple support act. In the short twenty five minute slot that The Academic played that night they demonstrated a musicianship and effortless charisma that belied the early stage that the band were at in their development.
In early 2015, just months after they finished touring with Delorentos, things started to happen for The Academic, and very quickly. Late March saw the release of an official lyric video for what would be the first official single from the band (they had previously released the song Bear Claws a few years before), Different, a song that would eventually be properly released on 24 April, which would be marked by an appearance on The Late Late Show on RTÉ television on the same day.
It would be the release of this song that would start to move The Academic further into the consciousness of the Irish music public and would lead gradually become one of the most played songs on Irish radio in 2015. A sold out show in The Workman’s Club in Dublin in May 2015 would be further proof of the fans that the band were quickly starting to gather. There was a sense that there was a hype developing around the band, a hype that would be rewarded with the signing of a deal with the Global Publishing label in the same year.
The profile of the band continued to rise in the months after the release of Different, and the band would reach another milestone in their development when they would headline a sold out show in Whelan’s in late October 2015. A show that would take place the night exactly before the release of the debut EP from the band, Loose Friends, and there was an energy and an enthusiasm to the song writing on show that proved to be highly infectious for those who took time to listen to it. An enthusiasm that is especially obvious when The Academic perform live. Craig Fitzgerald is a charismatic front man as he bounces around the stage, ably supported by the musicianship of brothers, Stephen and Matt Murtagh, and drummer, Dean Gavin.
If Different was one of the defining songs of 2015, then Mixtape 2003 would prove for many to be the soundtrack of summer 2016. A three minute guitar driven anthem, Mixtape 2003 quickly became a fan favourite and would dominate radio play for much of 2016 after the release.
For much of 2017, The Academic have seemed to keep a low profile, but there is evidence that they have spent the last few months writing new music, and posts on social media would have you believe that they are almost ready to let us hear it, this writer for one is excited about the prospect.