William Beckett

Genuine and Counterfeit

Written by: HES on 06/01/2014 20:47:01

William Beckett used to be the lead singer of the now broken up "The Academy Is..." and gained quite a following in the 00's on the wave of Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco or basically the bands I listened to in my high school years. "Genuine and Counterfeit" is the first LP in his solo-career and it's a whole lot of different from "The Academy Is..." at least.

Aside from a personal overhaul (from long-haired scene-kid to modelesque hipster), the style of the music has been overhauled as well: this is a way more down-toned album than the ones from the "The Academy Is..." days. There are still some high-pace punk-like songs on the record like "In My Blood" or "One in the Same" but only in the sense that they would need a whole lot more guitar to be that - yet it's still clear that Beckett's been a songwriter for a pop punk band earlier. Unfortunately this only leaves the songs kind of flat in a bad-power-pop kind of way. Where Beckett really manages to create something lasting, is maybe more in the folkish "By Your Side" including a very clever use of a banjo. In general Beckett grapples with some way more grandiose soundscapes than the narrow pop-punk ones, like the yelling-choirs of single "Benny & Joon" which even features small punctures of light synths and horns.

Unfortunately the intensified focus on Beckett’s vocals also makes it apparent that his stylings are a bit flat. This wouldn't be a problem in a band constellation and I've seen bands do well with mediocre singers. But doing solo work in my opinion requires more than a good tone of voice - it requires craftmansship - especially to create contrasts in the vocals. I'm sure that Beckett probably could be able to do this with the vocal chords he has been given, but I'm afraid that years in a band has made him fall a bit into patterns. The mix doesn't help him either, with an almost constant slight echoing that possibly streamlines both voice and expression, but at the same time dulls both. So although this album has been rewarded with great reviews on other sites like ATP! and absolutepunk, for me it never amounts to anything more than mediocre album with some small gems and admittedly some pure fillers.

Download: Benny & Joon, By Your Side, Cracks in the Ceiling
For the fans of: Rival Summers, More Amor, This Providence
Listen: Facebook

Release date 20.08.2013
Equal Vision Records

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