The Rational Academy
(Bands from Brisbane, Australia)
I first saw The Rational Academy sitting on the floor downstairs at Fat Boys in the Valley. The small room was packed and they were supporting (they even played "White Film" as their closing track with) the undisputed queen of Japanese abstract-electro-pop Noriko Tujiko, who later that night appeared with part time Rational Academy member and the man behind Room 40, Lawrence English.
In mid 2004, Brisbane's Fortitude Valley district battled sound restrictions and repeated venue closures, so some of the kids ran back to rediscover the early 90's DIY culture. Somewhere close by The Rational Academy began writing songs.
Drawn at first by the sonic scree of early Pavement records and a love for pop music accompanied by sombre male / female vocals, Meredith McHugh & Benjamin Thompson began adjusting tuning pegs until melodies and clashing chords worked themselves into a meaningful translation of The Rational Academy - a distant nod in the direction of their indie rock counterparts coupled with tender regard towards the avante garde and experimental composers within contemporary culture. Small DIY attack minus the scene-heavy indifference of Electro-Clash. They joined for some time with drummer David Heathorn, who has since moved down to Melbourne. After much movement and mayhem they were joined by Paul Donoughue & Matt Jonas.
Where The Academy have differed in their approach is the inclusion of local sound artist, composer and head of the experimental ROOM 40 label, Lawrence English, in the production seat transforming the simple pop meanderings of two guitars vocals and drums into involved sonic investigations of sound and space.
In their time together The Rational Academy have shared the stage with the likes of Touring American groups Xiu Xiu, Novi Split (with whom they have since collaborated for a split release), Japanese Electro Pop marvels Tujiko Noriko and Tenniscoats, Spoon (USA), Dear Nora (USA), The Blow (USA), Sarah Dougher (USA), Scout Nibblet (UK), Art of Fighting, Love of Diagrams, Deloris, Guy Blackman, The Crayon Fields, Dappled Cities Fly and local stalwarts Screamfeeder, Denvar, Turnpike, Shuriken, The Zebras and Iron On.
The Rational Academy will be playing with Deerhoof on April 4th at The Zoo, and will also be heading down to Sydney and Melbourne in May with a new lineup that includes Paul Donoughue from Tragic/Athletic on the Drum Kit and Matt Jonas from legendary Brisbane noise-pop kids Shuriken charting his way through unknown Academy Bass Guitar territory.
The band have been writing lots of new songs and recording them with Todd Dixon at various locations around Brisbane. A full length record is expected mid year!
Before heading off The Rational Academy will be playing The Zoo with Deerhoof plus one other Brisbane show at Ric's on the 20th of April with supports yet to be announced.
Do yourself a favour !
The Rational Academy - deer