Having recently finished a stint on this year's Vans Warped Tour following extensive touring of their own as a headlining act, The Academy Is… frontman William Beckett, guitarist Mike Carden, bassist Adam Siska and drummer Andy “the Butcher” Mrotek were overdue for some time off from the road, to say the least.

The Chicago foursome is currently recording the follow-up to 2004's acclaimed Almost Here, aiming for release in late winter or early spring of 2007. Heading into the studio last week with producer Butch Walker in L.A., the band promises that the break from its usually relentless touring schedule will assuredly pay off for fans.

“It's been pretty surreal getting into it,” Beckett says of the songwriting process so far. “I'm at the tail end of writing lyrics and thinking about what the message of this record is going to be. It's a very exposing process. It's a delicate thing, like therapy.”

Approaching the album as his own catharsis, Beckett doesn't hesitate to show his commitment to seeing it take form properly. “It has engulfed my every thought, my every move, I'm always thinking about it and I'm excited to make a really interesting record,” he says.

“I'm thinking for more of a broad record that people can relate to. I'm just trying to be as honest and genuine as I can on this record and focus on the right things because there are a lot of things going on right now in the world that are very complicated. But when it comes down to it, there are a lot of great things that are around us and I'd like for people to think about those as well.”

Beckett sums up his direction by quipping, “I guess that's my struggle and it's a beautiful thing.”

Luckily, the band can focus the entirety of its energy on that struggle and hasn't been set back by adjusting to shifting lineups, specifically parting with guitarist Tom Conrad, or overshadowed by resulting Internet gossip. As a tighter than ever musical unit, Beckett believes the album will do much to showcase the individual personalities of all the band members and each of their ranges of musicianship, saying, “Butcher is a little genius, you're going to see some tricks up his sleeve on this record.”

Not to be outdone, Beckett has a few tricks of his own to showcase on the album as well. “Juggling,” he says matter-of-factly. “I learned how to juggle a lot of things in my life. It's going to be a very exposing performance and a very challenging balancing act.”

For more information, visit www.theacademyis.com.