The Canadian electro-pop project ties the classically-trained vocals of Katie Stelmanis with disco and dancehall soundtracks which at times turn heavy enough to blur into techno.
Dorian Wolf leads the heaviest of the beats on moog and bass while a glammed-up Ryan Wonsiak brings a catchier touch on keyboard and Maya Postepski keeps it all together on drums.
It’s an original mix, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s one that works surprisingly well, no doubt largely thanks to the vocals of Stelmanis which are strong enough to sit over any style of music.
Opening with the first four tracks from their latest LP Future Politics, which dropped earlier this year, Austra wasted no time in airing the new stuff.
Remove the vocals and the group could easily fit the bill for the Warehouse Project in Manchester. Leave only Stelmanis and she could easily fill a royal concert hall.
‘Lose It’ from 2011’s Feel It Break was a notable showcase of the latter and the extended instrumental to close out ‘The Villain’ a shining example of the former.
We often find a classic let down for the electro-pop genre is the lyrics. We often find them throwaway and predictable, but Austra put the thought in – the words tell a story of vulnerability, recognition, and raise questions of the future.
An incredibly entertaining night and a new take on a genre; combining basslines and classical vocals in a manner you never knew you needed.
Stuart Kenny 4/5
Photo: Miles Welstead