Rational Youth

  • Rational Youth
  • Cold War Night Life (Can. YUL) 1982 
  • Rational Youth EP (Can. Capitol) 1983 
  • Heredity (Capitol) 1985 

Although the Montreal synthesizer trio occasionally lapses into lyrical pomposity, for the most part, Rational Youth’s records served up fresh sounds and workable songs that showed lots of promise. A bit like early Human League but better-natured, Cold War Night Life is a well-produced LP from talented technicians with minds and hearts.

Rational Youth added a drummer and exchanged another member by the time of the major-label EP, a slick and poppy five-song 12-inch that includes a remake of the first LP’s “Just a Sound in the Night” and two previews (the OMD-derived “In Your Eyes” and “Holiday in Bangkok”) of the second album.

With an altogether different lineup (singer/synthesist Tracy Howe is the only holdover; ex-Klaatu guitarist Dee Long is his main collaborator), Heredity blends in more guitar for increased commercial appeal, but maintains a certain down-to-earth spunkiness that distinguishes Rational Youth from other post-Duran tech-pop bands. Flash of fame footnote: the group was later featured — on the soundtrack and in a concert scene — in an early Kiefer Sutherland movie called Crazy Moon.

[Ira Robbins]