Austra: “Feel it Break” (CD Review)


Feel it Break

Domino Records CD (DNO 292P)

Katie Stelmanis has a haunting voice which she deploys to powerful effect as the vocalist for Toronto-based band Austra. Their full length debut via Domino features darkly hued electronica with 80s-era synthetic timbres and danceable beats.

There are plenty of bands that have tried to mine this territory of late. But the combination of memorable hooks, and Stelmanis’ pipes singing them, allows Austra to stand out from the back.

If you think that Eighties nostalgia has lasted longer than the era itself, you’re probably right. But the best exponents of dark wave, bands like Austra, use the materials made famous by 80′s era pop songs as a touchstone and a jumping off point, not merely for the sentimental thrill (now chilled). As such, Feel it Break allows the listener a refreshed take on synth-pop, which is welcome news indeed.

Here are a couple of live videos of the band performing at SXSW 2011.