[20 May 2008]
A soft focus photograph of a lonely, snow-covered playground in Krakow, Poland, spans the cover of A Heart Against Your Own. If the picture suggests that growing up in sunny Brisbane, on Australia’s east coast, has made the Rational Academy yearn for more ethereal climates, it’s more than evident in their dreamy mix of experimental pop and lush shoegazing. “JoJo Planteen” stirs with a reminiscing melancholy before ending in a rush of Fuck Buttons-style noise. “Two Books” is all ecstatic noise-pop, owing more than a passing nod to Sonic Youth and Deerhoof. “Squid and Whale” is a smudge of warm lo-fi, like Pavement swimming in a mess of My Bloody Valentine.
The opening notes of “2004” might evoke far too much of Bryan Adams’ “Run to You”, but it still goes on to show that the Rational Academy’s promise is in their ability to craft sweet, tender, pop music with absorbing stories about observations and misdemeanours. The boy/girl vocals chilling and smoothing in equal measure, they sing, “Let’s go back to 2004 / If you recall I’m standing with a girl I used to love / You held my hand / I spoke with her and mentioned you / And you respond with songs about a band we used to adore / I don’t listen to them anymore”.