By Troy Vita
Album: Future Politics
Release Date: January 20, 2017
Austra is the work of Canadian singer/producer Katie Stelmanis. Future Politics features some direct hard-hitting synth-pop in addition to the dream-pop sound she is known for. We’ve heard some dance beats in her previous work, but this new album expands on that style. She implemented this new aspect in her music well and it makes the album her most interesting yet. One thing Austra hasn’t changed is her always powerful and emotionally-delivered vocals. Austra’s high, wavering almost opera-like voice immediately catches your attention. Lyrically, this album dives into the idea of a post-capitalist utopia, with lyrics about how our current society can’t help the poor enough among other anti-capitalist themes.
Future Politics kicks off with “We Were Alive”, a beautiful dream-pop song that features a rattling bass hit that creates a strong contrast with the soft vocals. The next track, titled “Future Politics” is the easiest song to dance to while diving deep into the political issues this album revolves around. “Utopia”, the lead single, feels more relaxed than the title track without losing all the energy that pulls you into the music. From there Austra goes into a few other styles, like the sparse intensity of “I’m A Monster” and the big synths and soaring vocals on “I Love You More Than You Love Yourself”, my personal favorite track. She also ends on a high note with the harp instrumental track “Deep Thought” leading into “43”, a slowed-down dance tune with haunting vocals.
Future Politics is a great collection of dance and dream-pop songs that are held together through Austra’s unique and incredible vocal performance and heavy political themes. It’s definitely worth listening to far any fan of synth-pop music.