13 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Austra’s second album veers off the ‘80s path for a sound more in keeping with current artists like Florence + The Machine or Likke Li, which is both inevitable and wise. You can only mine that territory so long before your synth tones and dance rhythms start running into each other. The Toronto band (now six members) push the bounds of their particular pop arena carefully and thoughtfully, resulting in a stellar follow-up to 2011’s Feel It Break. They’re flexing a little more muscle here, and Katie Stelmanis’ vocals are the unerring sinewy core running through the entire album. Her voice still stuns, owing to its husky, mystical qualities (at times like Amber Webb of Lightning Dust) and her operatic training—it’s simply an awesome combination. There may not be an immediate sweet spot like “Lost It” from Feel It Break, but the ABBA-esque swirl of “Forgive Me” comes awfully close, as does the bittersweet and fleet “Home,” with its fleet congas and piano riffs. “What We Done” is a slow burner that takes its sweet time (three minutes) to fully launch, while “Hurt Me Now,” with harps and gloomy keys, is a gothy treasure.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Austra’s second album veers off the ‘80s path for a sound more in keeping with current artists like Florence + The Machine or Likke Li, which is both inevitable and wise. You can only mine that territory so long before your synth tones and dance rhythms start running into each other. The Toronto band (now six members) push the bounds of their particular pop arena carefully and thoughtfully, resulting in a stellar follow-up to 2011’s Feel It Break. They’re flexing a little more muscle here, and Katie Stelmanis’ vocals are the unerring sinewy core running through the entire album. Her voice still stuns, owing to its husky, mystical qualities (at times like Amber Webb of Lightning Dust) and her operatic training—it’s simply an awesome combination. There may not be an immediate sweet spot like “Lost It” from Feel It Break, but the ABBA-esque swirl of “Forgive Me” comes awfully close, as does the bittersweet and fleet “Home,” with its fleet congas and piano riffs. “What We Done” is a slow burner that takes its sweet time (three minutes) to fully launch, while “Hurt Me Now,” with harps and gloomy keys, is a gothy treasure.

TITLE TIME
5:00
3:20
3:59
4:32
4:15
4:42
1:11
4:22
3:31
3:47
3:11
3:54
3:41

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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