Wednesday 13 December 2017

Music: Feel It Break by Austra ****


John Meagher

John Meagher

This Toronto trio mine the sort of gothic electronica beloved of Fever Ray and (less spectacularly) Zola Jesus. This is an austere debut, partly indebted to the dark strain of early 80s new wave.

Named after a Latvian goddess, much of Austra's appeal centres on the deliberately dispassionate vocals of Katie Stelmanis -- a classically trained musician -- and songs that explore the singer's gay sexuality.

The most potent moments -- the strident pair Darken Her Horse and The Beast plus lead single Beat and the Pulse (whose explicit video was banned by YouTube) -- show what an engaging band Austra can be, but several tracks struggle to rise above a sub-Kate Bush standard.

Burn it: Darken Her Horse; Beat and the Pulse

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