Shadow Academy is a near-perfect album.
Okay. My opinion is obviously subjective since I’m only one guy. I have specific tastes in music that not everyone will agree with. However, the fact that this album can check so many boxes for one person is still incredibly impressive. If it can impress me so much, then it’s possible it can impress someone else, and that’s the beauty of this album.
Shadow Academy is a new band with the vocals of Dan Avidan, most well-known from the Youtube comedy duo Game Grumps, and the harmonies of Jim Roach, producer of Avidan’s first band Ninja Sex Party. For those of you who are familiar with Avidan’s previous work, you know that he’s no stranger to music. Along with Ninja Sex Party, he has been a featured vocalist for TWRP and Skyhill, which are more fantasy-centric than comedy.
This brings me to my actual argument. The lyrics combined with the epic melodies and riffs are pure magic. You have “White whale” as the opening song, inspired by Moby Dick, and then you have “All for one” (Three Musketeers) and “Down a rabbit hole” (Alice in Wonderland). They are not copies of the original books– they borrow the best ideas from them and turn them into something new and exciting. You have the nostalgia of hearing these bits and pieces before and then the thrill of discovering something new.
But that’s just the lyrics. The instruments, baby! The harmonies! You’ve got this insane synth sometimes like you’re running in the 80s and then this epic electric guitar comes in. Oh, you like piano? Have the two most beautiful interludes on an album you’ve ever heard in your fucking life.
How can I convince you to listen to this? How can you understand that this album has single-handedly cured my anxiety and cleared my skin? I need you to know why I’ve had this on repeat ever since it came out and why I blew way too much money on a signed CD.
Look, you’re allowed to disagree with me, but you need to listen to it first.
I usually do 2 quotes per review but this album is so chock-full of good lyrics I’m allowing myself 3 this week!
“The daylight I will dream/
At night there's only grief/
I pitied all your bleeding hearts/
But love you because they bleed”
“It's such a random gamble/
This dive into the night/
A breath upon a candle/
From darkness goes the light”
“Now at last/
On sinking ships tied to the mast/
Leave ash and bones deep in the past/
And so we ran/
And lost all seeds of vanished men/
And I would rather drown than swim to land/
But through streaks of grey/
A dream I dare not say/
For under future lives away, away, away, away”
Milo Openshaw (he/him) is the opions editor for The Front winter '22. He's a junior majoring in creative writing with a teaching endorsement. This year he will read 60 books and write at least one.
You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find him on Instagram @miloohno if you want to see him. Or don't. (I wouldn't recommend it.)