Austra - Feel It Break

Processional, brooding buzzing electro. Synth drum pads. Vocals sliding out like something extruded, pushed. Despite Zola Jesus comparisons, it's not witch-house (it doesn't have the required skew technicalities) but by heavens the sentiment is close, that purity of intent. Of course it's gothic, baroque. Now we've got that out of the way, are we free to enjoy the record? Even within self-imposed tight stylistic confines, the variety coming from this Toronto trio is a major plus: the opening track is chock full of black leather coats and eye-liner, but along the way we also get a falsetto piece ('Lose It') that Marc Almond would love to call his own and the chiming clarion of 'Beat And The Pulse' which has been out for a couple of months as a strong taster and lead for this album. Vocalist Katie Stelmanis is opera trained but threw it in. Their loss is our gain - she would be equally home letting rip as soloist in a cathedral. If any proof is needed of her classical chops, closing track 'The Beast' loses the electro thrum in favour of a roiling piano piece, and is on its own worth the price of the album. There are sexual politics at play. Katie is clear without overdoing it that being gay, queer sensibility is a major informant to her art. I'm not even sure that needs saying any more in 2011. At least it's out there I guess, in case of any doubt, and perhaps some indication of the road travelled is helpful to explain the art that results.

Overall

8

out of 10

We need your help

Running a website like The Digital Fix - especially one with over 20 years of content and an active community - costs lots of money and we need your help. As advertising income for independent sites continues to contract we are looking at other ways of supporting the site hosting and paying for content.

You can help us by using the links on The Digital Fix to buy your films, games and music and we ask that you try to avoid blocking our ads if you can. You can also help directly for just a few pennies per day via our Patreon - and you can even pay to have ads removed from the site entirely.

Click here to find out more about our Patreon and how you can help us.

Did you enjoy the article above? If so please help us by sharing it to your social networks with the buttons below...

Latest Articles