Album Review: Austra – Future Politics

Published On December 28, 2016 | By Daniel Patrin | Albums, Music

Enduring long into their third record lay an enlightening soundscape filled with rebirth and pulsing life – plucked from cultures stretching into clubs, literature, life messages and unbridled rhythm. We thank Austra for the riding experience amidst their Future Politics album.

Austra - Future PoliticsThe album’s ascent drifts into a silky atmosphere tipped with soft synth work and a pulsing bass feature inside We Were Alive as Katie Stelmanis unleashes her tender vocal kindnesses to a mild and gleamy vista. The next track, Future Politics unfastens the album’s namesake and general direction – exploring messages of positivity and possibility of a brighter tomorrow. “The system won’t help you when the money runs out”, she boldly insists. A rolling synth structure and electronic arpeggio transmit underneath the vocals, sending the vibe into a piano-tinged club-worthy environment.

With the album, new life and mind-bending alternate perspectives are ripe and bountiful. Having spent time abroad since their latest album, Katie and the band have incorporated the ingredients that define cultures and cities with the influence of the master creative mindsets of those who reside in them. Such is the European electronic music tip, specifically extracted from the heavyset techno stomper Utopia – equally as immersible in the headphones at home as it is on a packed dancefloor in Paris’ Rex club. Stabbed synths and shaky yet strong basslines fold over a 4×4 structure as Stelmanis’ ‘ooh’s and woo’s’ lift the condition into an echoed nightlife love track – respecting the perfect moments that haunt the pleasure junkie. It is with the same detail and channelled influence can one expect when listening to the heavier and darker intoxication of I Love You More Than You Love Yourself. Aside from the inevitable peachiness heard in the vocal delivery, a surprising inclusion of experimentalist drum snippets and club music patterns help understand how much of an influence UK bass music purveyors such as Kowton, Tessela or perhaps Four Tet have on the Austra project. Moreso, the sheer balance of the album’s complexity better serves as a counterpoise to the vast elements of reconstructed sound. Definitely dance orientated, there are too fragments of traditionalist appeal and respectful tendencies much like the lengths taken in track’s like Freepower – sounding a lot funkier and a little less cryptic.

No matter how different and complex the instrumentals exchange throughout the record, one thing is for certain – Stelmanis’ vocal led tranquillity bends and falls over each track with respectable versatility, a gift of sprawling achievement increasingly harmonious with a thoughtful and enigmatic sound design. In terms of simplicity and effect, no track better exposes these raw and talented elements than the pleasantries heard in Beyond A Mortal. Slight analogue moments shift through spatial innocence and a forbidden territory, making way for a thumping digital splash of grace resembling pain and physical awakening. The track is a progression through the layers of gurgling noise to the perpetual rhythm both melodious and heavily pure.

Just one of the many methodised gems on Future Politics, it unleashes the true beauty surviving deep in this musical project, fuelling yet another escapist insight into the creative minds that continually work to illustrate the future and reality.

4 / 5 stars     

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