Feel It Break by Austra on Apple Music

11 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Toronto trio Austra works with a simple synth/drum/bass palette, rooted in the ‘80s sounds farmed both by commercial bands like Depeche Mode and a number of artists in the 4AD stable. Katie Stelmanis’ remarkable, lightly tremeloed voice has an ethereal quality, with a dark spirit and a lost-soul plaintiveness that is sturdier than, say, Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. (The band has covered Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” a tune well suited to Stelmanis’ voice.) Synths are the core of Austra’s sound — they gurgle and purr (albeit, darkly and often fuzzily) when in dance mode, glide and glisten and glare in atmospherics mode; the crisp, skeletal drums of Maya Postepski and Dorian Wolf’s understated bass are the sturdy armature around which the tunes swirl. A song like “Beat and the Pulse” puts the band clearly in the electronica arena — it’s quiet, cool, slightly foreboding and sensual. But tracks like “Lose It” belie an ear for pop-dom, with a trilling, sing-along chorus and appealing — dare we say “happy” — dance beat. If you are utterly enchanted with Stelmanis’ (classically trained) voice, seek out her previous solo work.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Toronto trio Austra works with a simple synth/drum/bass palette, rooted in the ‘80s sounds farmed both by commercial bands like Depeche Mode and a number of artists in the 4AD stable. Katie Stelmanis’ remarkable, lightly tremeloed voice has an ethereal quality, with a dark spirit and a lost-soul plaintiveness that is sturdier than, say, Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. (The band has covered Roy Orbison’s “Crying,” a tune well suited to Stelmanis’ voice.) Synths are the core of Austra’s sound — they gurgle and purr (albeit, darkly and often fuzzily) when in dance mode, glide and glisten and glare in atmospherics mode; the crisp, skeletal drums of Maya Postepski and Dorian Wolf’s understated bass are the sturdy armature around which the tunes swirl. A song like “Beat and the Pulse” puts the band clearly in the electronica arena — it’s quiet, cool, slightly foreboding and sensual. But tracks like “Lose It” belie an ear for pop-dom, with a trilling, sing-along chorus and appealing — dare we say “happy” — dance beat. If you are utterly enchanted with Stelmanis’ (classically trained) voice, seek out her previous solo work.

TITLE TIME
5:21
4:29
4:02
4:55
5:09
4:12
4:01
4:06
3:22
3:31
4:02

About Austra

Named for the Latvian goddess of light, Toronto's Austra feature singer/keyboardist Katie Stelmanis, drummer Maya Postepski, and bassist Dorian Wolf. Stelmanis is a classically trained vocalist and pianist who joined the Canadian Children's Opera at age ten and intended to pursue a career in classical music before falling in love with punk, industrial, and electronic music. In 2008 she released the solo album Join Us, and was also a member of the band Galaxy with Postepski. When that group disbanded, the pair joined forces with Wolf, a former member of Spiral Beach, and initially called themselves Private Life, but switched to Austra after discovering another band with that name. Their debut single, The Beat and the Pulse, arrived in early 2011, and their full-length debut, Feel It Break (most of which was recorded in Stelmanis' home studio and mixed by Damian Taylor), arrived in May of that year on Domino Records. By the time of 2013's Olympia, the project had evolved into a six-piece featuring keyboardist Ryan Wonsiak and backing vocalists Romy and Sari Lightman, allowing for more live instrumentation and interplay between bandmembers. 2016's Future Politics diversified the mix further, with the inclusion of guest vocalist Peter Milton Walsh (the Apartments) on "Attention to Life" and cellist Audrey Riley (Nick Cave, Coldplay, the Cure) appearing intermittently throughout the album. ~ Heather Phares

  • ORIGIN
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • FORMED
    2010

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