Great Scott! Academie has released their first new single in nearly two years. This is a confirmation of the Johannesburg-based band’s ability to craft a pop soundscape that places them alongside those pushing the frontiers of the genre on the global scene.
Titled ‘Battles’, the single is the follow-up to 2016’s groundbreaking EP, Volumes and is the first of a slate of songs to be released in 2018. Together these will form the basis a new EP by Jean-Louise and Alex Parker, the duo who comprise Academie.
‘Battles’ opens with a grimy synth that artfully backdrops the 80s-inspired groove and expansive vocals threaded throughout this magnetic track. It’s a mix of dark and light that reflects the dualism that Academie readily embraces: in their self-contained musical world, pre-recorded samples, vocal reverb and loops are as central to the sound as the viola, guitar and saxophone.
Lyrically, ‘Battles’ throws into sharp relief the insistent, and unending, skirmishes over issues (politics, gender, land, religion, take your pick) that define the current moment. “Load the gun/bang of drums / Praise the sun / Battles won,” Jean-Louise intones with a delicacy that belies the song’s potent social commentary.
You are probably intrigued, so crank up ‘Battles’ below or click here to see which streaming options you have to hear it.
I have to admit that this isn’t my normal cup of tea, but ‘Battles’ is probably one of the best produced songs that I’ve heard in 2018. I am completely blown away by how awesome it sounds. There’s some really great South African music out there, you just have to look for it…
I haven’t seen Academie live yet, but I think I should make an effort. They are playing at Rocking The Daisies in October, so that’s an ideal opportunity to experience their live performance. I better start saving up for a plane ticket…
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