Sunday, January 29, 2023

Rational Youth - s/t ep (1983)

Sometimes an album jacket meshes almost perfectly with the very music it cloaks. A collection of seemingly random shapes and colors all corralled in a slightly off-center rectangle amidst a plain, light grey backdrop punctuated by a pattern of small blue triangles captures the aesthetic of what Montreal's Rational Youth were trying to exude here. The band's preceding 1982 debut, Cold War Night Life bore an even starker album sleeve, almost perfectly mirroring the icy, post-punk synth salvos awaiting the listener. For their major-label debut in '83, R/Y managed to sand down some of the more serrated edges that endeared themselves to their original tranche of fans without going too soft.  The five-song Rational Youth balances the quartet's subtle, noir sensibilities with a brighter pop accessibility, a la A Flock of Seagulls, but for whatever the reason, R/Y weren't able to cash in on the techno-pop zeitgeist burgeoning around them. Nonetheless, a second album, Heredity, materialized in 1985, and after the band's dissolution multiple retrospectives and live albums sprouted, and even a  few reunion gigs occurred as recently as 2021, albeit with a modified lineup. Three of the five songs appearing here were rerecorded for a 2021 ep, Wavelength, which is available here.   

01. In Your Eyes
02. Just a Sound in the Night
03. Latin Lovers
04. Holiday in Bangkok
05. The Man in Grey


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