Thursday 16 June 2016

Review: Rational Youth – 'Future Past Tense'

'Future Past Tense'

Rational Youth are a name synonymous with Canadian electronic music. Originally founded by ex-Men Without Hats guitarist Tracy Howe in 1981 the band enjoyed a successful run with albums such as 'Cold War Night Life', 'Rational Youth', and 'Heredity' before disbanding and returning at the turn of the millennium. The band's comeback lasted for another album, and later in 2013 we were treated to a live album, but the band's new EP release, 'Future Past Tense', marks their first studio album since 1999.

With shades of early Ultravox!, Skinny Puppy, Images In Vogue and Fad Gadget 'Future Past Tense' is a classic sounding slice of synthpop that will compliment the band's back catalogue. Songs such as 'Western Man', 'In the Future', and 'Prison Of Flesh' in particular evoke smokey 80s dancefloors where consumerism danced with the threat of nuclear destruction to steady electronic beats and futuristic analogue bleeps.

The album is unashamedly retor in construction and execution. The sounds, the vocals, the mix, everything sounds like a top-shelf 1984 record that has stood the test of time. And that is essential whaty Rational Youth are... a top-shelf 80s band that despite a few absences, have stuck to their guns, withstood the test of time and can still put out great synthpop.

For fans of classic synthpop this is a no-brainer. It has the great pop hooks, those warm futuristic analogue leads and steady mechanical dance beats that can still pack a dance floor. Howe can still write great synthpop tunes and this EP is a testament to his legacy as a musician.  

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