Perfect timing! Right as I'm catching up with Austra's first two records, "Feel It Break" and "Olympia" the Canadian trio release their third full length after a four year gap. Not much about the bands sound has developed, even singer Stelmanis gives a routine performance of powerful vibratos between strong yet soft and moving vocal lines. If only wrapped in a touch more reverb, her voice will still win me over every time. "Future Politics" has its charm but only in doses. The bass and percussion has the most notable progression, deeper textural sub synths and thumping bass kicks are frequently occurring as a stylistic backbone, reminiscent of House and Dance, driving an interesting tone that works well. Moving away from the organic approach of "Olympia" the sequenced drum kits find there moment on the prominently House tracks, but feel a bit lifeless on the quieter songs.
The track listing feels split, in one instance they find an easy chemistry with these Dance numbers, steady beats with a thudding drive for easy synth sounds to glide over. The dominant theme of simplicity charms in this setting but the lack of depth in the melodies leaves the record feeling sparse on its other half, a set of quieter tunes breaking up the flow. Most the songs are comprised of short, repetitive melodies and short sounds arranged to a consistently 4/4 beat. Its often Stelmanis who comes to the rescue, making a great hook on the title track and captivating with pillow soft whisper like vocals on the dreamy "Beyond A Mortal". Ultimately she masks some of the underwhelming instrumentals, a pleasant but not riveting album from a band who I believe can to far more interesting places than this.
Favorite Tracks: Future Politics, Utopia, Beyond A Mortal