Austra – “Future Politics” (2017)

Label: Domino Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

With “future” and “politics” in the album title and an electronic music style, the theme of the latest album from Austra could have gone in an abstract way, but it does not. Instead it is one of the musical creations beginning to reflect the turmoil of current days and the threats we face now and in the near future. In the words of the band (from their website): “Future politics is the realization that we have the power to imagine, invent and create a life for ourselves that is different. We have the power to turn against everything we know to be true and interject a new meaning, new truths into our individual existence and also the existence of the whole human society.” Though the ideas are progressive, I doubt the band would wish it to be labeled as such – the intention is to discard constraining ideas. Though the messages in the music are beyond gender, it has been important to the band to have the album production completed by an all women team. Perhaps it is more a statement about stereotypes and biases within the music industry; as a listener I will interpret it as another artistic statement about the need to be different as we proceed. Musically a dangerous beat accompanies the strong vocals with a touch of attitude. These songs would not be out of place alongside Ladytron, Goldfrapp, Massive Attack, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and the like. Each song fits in with the political theme, though it is not overt. You will probably have to make an effort to pick up on the politics. There is plenty to enjoy in the melody and music without engaging with the lyrical theme. My easy favourite track is “43”. It begins with a dark beat, and continues with edgy keyboard passages as it builds throughout. The ’43’ refers to the 2014 kidnapping of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico – though, as stated above, you would have to go looking to find out what it is about. Another great track is “Future Politics”. It along with “Utopia”, and “I Love You More Than You Love Yourself” all have a music videos. They are all good choices as representatives for the album. If you choose to delve into the meaning behind the music it is rewarding, the band are attempting to present a hopeful question to us all to consider a better future, as they say on “I’m a Monster”“There must be more to life than this”. However, if you choose to simply enjoy the music you won’t be disappointed – Austra are in fine form on “Future Politics”.

Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. We Were Alive
  2. Future Politics
  3. Utopia
  4. I’m a Monster
  5. I Love You More Than You Love Yourself
  6. Angel in Your Eye
  7. Freepower
  8. Gaia
  9. Beyond a Mortal
  10. Deep Thought
  11. 43

 

Line Up

  • Katie Stelmanis – Vocals
  • Maya Postepski – Piano, programming, recorder, synthesizer and vocals
  • Dorian Wolf – Drums, keyboards, marimba, organ, percussion and programming
  • Ryan Wonsiak – Bass and synthesizer

 

Links

facebook.com/austraofficial

twitter.com/austratalks

austramusic.com/