It gets a bad rap from urbanites, but suburbia has inspired some great stuff: Kevin Smith movies, pool skating, The Wonder Years, and, more recently, The Academy Is…, a poppy quintet formed a few miles outside of Chicago. After two albums with emo incubator Fueled by Ramen, their new major-label disc, Fast Times at Barrington High, emphasizes what the quintet is best at: angst-ridden lyrics set against upbeat guitar melodies. While the simpler pop-punk instrumentation and William Beckett’s sugary vocals suggest the band is feeling more competitive with Motion City Soundtrack and the All-American Rejects, the band’s staying on message with its Hot Topic teenagerisms.
THE ACADEMY IS… PERFORMS WITH WE THE KINGS, CAROLINA LIAR, AND HEY MONDAY AT 7 P.M. AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. $20. (202) 265-0930.