Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Austra : " Future Politics"

This project came into my awareness when I was tunneling through the dark layers of the inner trying to find more "witch house" acts, this is around the same time period I discovered Chelsea Wolfe & Zola Jesus. Katie Stelmanis is voice and brains behind this. Not as dark as some of the other artists who crawled up from the witch house scene, her magick is woven with a breezy atmosphere. While electronic at it's core the songs are written with enough heart in them to still feel more organic than your average pro-tooling button pusher. The production is a mix of fine tuning and fuzzy lo-fi beats, but here voice is clearly what holds these songs together as the piano riffs are mixed further back.

There is more emphasis placed on the title track, which gathers into a pretty tasty groove that ebbs down into piano interludes. Her vocals have a quirkier tone as she gets all Millennial lyrically. I do not let this deter me from the song. While it is very smooth, "Utopia" seems like a song that would be filler for Imogen Heap. Not a bad song , just doesn't strike me as being as inspired. There is a a more ambient new wave feel to it. There is a more experimental atmosphere to "I Am a Monster" this is very conducive for her to go up into her head register.  If you are going to do dancey electro pop that is thoughtful and not choking on bubble gum "I Love You More than You Love Yourself" this the way to go.

They lyrics to "Angel In Your Eye" are pretty smart and the groove to this song is not far behind in gray matter. There is a more head nodding beat behind "Freepower" which is another one that takes what Imogen Heap does in a more surreal direction while still putting some dance in your step. Lyrically I like the more metaphysical message within "Gaia" , musically it's a shade more dialed in. "Beyond a Mortal" is more ambient and a little weird, but still makes the most of it's tempo and melodies. The album closes with "43" which is what happens when witch house grew up out of the hipster art show and became smart pop.  I'll give this album a nudge up to a 9.5 as I can hear it growing on me.

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