RATIONAL YOUTH
TO THE GODDESS ELECTRICITY
ALBUM OCTOBER RELEASE: NOVEMBER 1, 1999 REVIEW: DECEMBER 2, 1999


Not many people want to talk about the second Rational Youth album "Heredity". Mainly because of the radical change in instrumentation. With a traditional rock band line-up Rational Youth were considered traitors by the fans of "Cold War Night Life", the classic debut album with hyper electronic pop hits like "Dancing on the Berlin Wall", "City of Night" and "Saturdays in Silesia". I, personally, find "Heredity" quite striking, seen as an independent work of art, with several strong songs.
The sound of the comeback album "To the Goddess Electricity", however, is as electronic as any Kraftwerk release, and sometimes it also has the coolness and spirit of the German quartet. Itís mostly more pop oriented, though, of which "Talk to Me (Iím Only Human)" is a terrible example and "Energie", "Everything is Vapour" and "The Ghosts of Montreal" are good ones.
Tracy Howe, now only accompanied by Jean-Claude Cutz, had the intention to create the natural "Cold War Night Life" sequel, and in some ways his mission is fulfilled. Rational Youth have managed to outdo most of the synthpop genre, with solid songs, a singer who can strike the right notes and a spotless production.
Still, I canít help but feeling disappointed. The comparison to "Cold War Night Life", one of my all-time favourite albums, is inevitable and "To the Goddess Electricity" isnít as good, not at all. I like almost every song, but Iím lacking the moments of perfection found on their debut, the enchanting moods and the playfulness. An extra plus for the ending, "Open Your Heart", a stripped down ballad with a thoughtful Howe on vocals. Beautiful. Rational Youth are still very good indeed, they just crushed the hopes of an improvement of "Cold War Night Life".
Iíd still advice fans of this album to go buy "To the Goddess Electricity". Just donít expect a tower of glory this time.

NIKLAS FORSBERG


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