steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

And Academy

"Her and Hurt, Hearts" cassette

Best Kept Secret

Genres: indie pop, lo-fi

Best Kept Secret
c/o Alessandro Crestani
via Biron di Sotto, 101
36100 Vicenza

Feb 2 - 8 2004

The last And Academy album I reviewed, Love and Africa, Love and Academy, got an 87% and earned a spot on the Best of 2003 list. This album, released exclusively on tape, is not eligible for the 2003 list (it came out in 2002), but certainly earns its 88% - one higher than last time.

Her and Hurt, Hearts is a perfect release for the wonderful Italian cassette label Best Kept Secret, which has been consistently putting out pop tape after pop tape since the late nineties. And Academy have an irresistible pop sound, brimming in cleverly unobvious melodies and complex song structures.  Their inventive songs are well-constructed - they remain fresh much longer than most pop tunes do.  On tape, their music sounds even better - it's much fuller and warmer than the cold, digital atmosphere of compact discs.

The songs on this album are truly unique, but will surely fit in with releases on BKS, HHBTM, Matinée, and the like.  Just be warned, this is a bit more rock-based than some of the more pop-centred albums on those labels - those who can't handle anything harder than twee will find parts of Her and Hurt, Hearts quite unbearable.  But how many people are actually like that?  Anyone with a pulse and a genuine interest in melodic indie pop should be able to dig this tape.  Songs like "Zero Plus Zero Plus Zero" and "Warmer Dead Cold" are simply brilliant; they sound as if they've been marinated for days in pop hooks galore.

All in all, Her and Hurt, Hearts is a very satisfying album.  Though it may require a few listens to truly sink in, this tape will likely find a very cherished spot in your music collection.  And Academy deserve to be musical superheroes - and the thing is, they already [however secretly] are.  


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 13 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2002]