Records: Austra “Feel It Break”

Another addition to those impeccable post-goth projects that have been popping out lately, Austra is a Toronto-based trio consisting of  Katie Stelmanis (vocals, piano, etc.), Maya Postepski (drums) and Dorian Wolf (bass), and their debut album deserves a special mention, if only because it’s such a demanding listen. Not that its sounds are particularly extreme, at least if, like us, you are quite fond of dark ambiances with industrial vibes. And actually the song-writing is pretty clear and solid, paying good attention to melody. No, the concept of demanding in here is something else: what happens is that you need to dedicate a whole lot of your attention in order to actually understand everything that happens inside Feel It Break, due in part to the numerous layers used everywhere. So much so that one may still discover new details after quite a few listens.
Yes, we confess, that was what happened to us. It actually went something like this: first time listening, nice overall sound. Second time, doesn’t it all sound a bit too similar and anonymous? Third time: wow, that voice is really powerful and quite high in the mix. Fourth time: nice synths and drums in there. Fifth time: this is actually quite involving, innit? And so it went on and on, until we were completely absorbed by its cold beauty and still discovering new things to like. Simultaneously, we also became fascinated by the clever structure of the songs, where instead of the conventional verse-chorus-verse, we mostly seem to have blocks that alternate and repeat themselves, adding subtle changes in the process. All in the name of immersing the listener into an hypnotic state of mind that is well worth being on.
In the end, those comparisons to The Knife make some sense, not only because both projects could be seen as purveyors of spooky synth-pop with female voices, but mostly because, when hearing them, you get that strange feeling of weirdness mixed with something vaguely familiar and highly seductive. But you could also mention Zola Jesus, Siouxsie Sioux or even Nine Inch Nails and no one would blame you for that. Still, with so many influences and name-dropping references, it’s still true that there’s something quite unique in Feel It Break that can slowly conquer anyone open for it. (7/10)

PR

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