Academie — ‘Suburban Dreams’ video

Rhythm is an integral part of South African music, and that extends to South African life in general. While most of us Londoners wouldn’t even attempt a lean & bop unless we’re half cut, dancing is everywhere in SA, and most grow up on a diet on contagious polyrhythms.

Just about every bit of music I’ve covered so far has had a rhythmically propulsive element to it, and for many genres the beat is intentionally repetitive to the point of hypnosis.

But there are exceptions, and Academie is one such act who uses rhythm more unpredictably, but equally effectively.

For those who are unfamiliar, Academie are a husband & wife duo from Johannesburg. Their ‘Volumes’ EP dropped a while back, in May last year, and around the same time they released a video for the title track. It’s taken a while for the next visual to land, but it was worth the wait, especially as the corresponding track is a personal favourite from the record.

Lyrically, ‘Suburban Dreams’ is a commentary on suburban life, and specially the interaction between different classes in suburbia. But it’s musically where this song really excels.

Opening with an unsettling time signature and guitar stabs, a sharp bass line and Jean-Louise Parker’s heavily affected vocal soon join the fray, in a cocktail reminiscent of St Vincent’s brand of art-rock. A standout feature of the track is the interjections of playful saxophone, and there’s some really nice interplay between sax and vocal, before a widescreen chorus opens the track right up. The chord progression in the chorus has a cosmic feel to it, which works really nicely with the vintage computer game visuals.

The video is below, and I’d definitely recommend checking out the rest of the EP if you like what you hear.