Austra’s third album Future Politics arrives just at the right time. It has the ambitious mission of making sense of the current state of the world. Future Politics is filled with crystalline anthems, inspired by group leader Katie Stelmanis’ time living in Montreal and Mexico City, that have enough punch for the dancefloor or enough chill for the headphones. On Domino.
6/10 Clinton Staff review, 18 January 2017
It's hard sometimes to figure out who exactly Austra appeal to. Their music is lifeless synthy dance music seemingly without emotion and Katie Stelmanis' voice is one part strangled cat and another part Madonna singing through a squashed hosepipe.
Yet they have a nice little career going so what could it be? Well I'm not sure really. I guess opener 'We Were Alive' culminates in a nice little hook that catches the ear, the title track has a kind of pulsing euro disco groove that keeps breaking down into a trough of Italo-house piano but the chorus is undeniably catchy. Also if you can get over her shrill vocal squeak then you'll hear well thought out lyrics about ...well...the state of things - trying to make sense of it all.
Back in the late '70s disco allowed people to dance away their cares. Here Stelmanis uses danceable beats as an underlay for her musings on the state of the world. It's more one dimensional than, say, Anohni and it wanders too much at times. Tracks like 'I'm A Monster' are real hard work. The best bits are where the lyrics are matched to enjoyable tunes and there are moments such as 'Angel In Your Eye' which hit the spot nicely despite the track following the pattern of some of the rest of the album of disappearing up it's backside from time to time.
I still don't full understand what is happening here but it's certainly worth a listen to see if it's for you.
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