Austra (formed in 2009) have been playing the role of the best electro-pop art reference (like Kate Bush) for a decade. Although we could say that this “new” thing after ten years is no longer valid. They speedily left Canada, their home country, with their debut album “Feel It Break” (2011) – “An undisputed monument. Best record of the year” (Toronto Star); “Best album of 2011” (New York Magazine); and so they have continued without lowering the level. About “Future Politics,” their third album from 2017, New Musical Express said: “Like cold, clean water, it washes clear the mental muck, leaving you feeling alive again.” It could be said about their music that is between the synthetic and the Gothic, with the right point of 80s British new wave to evoke groups such as Japan or Soft Cell, but without going over retro. Listening to them is like coming back to Studio 54 before getting high and without leaving 21st Century. Leading the band is vocalist Katie Stelmanis, who has composed, produced and played different instruments in every Austra’s works, sharing the main role with her band to tour.
Stelmanis is an LGTB icon, with an astonishing voice and an opera background that breathes drama and epic into the instrumental plot. A mix between classic and modern with a touch of outlandishness (it does not leave anyone indifferent) and another of crossover (they explore beyond boundaries, they look for big audiences and they do not hide it), with the darkness so well defined and worked that they make it addictive and danceable. As Stelmanis explains, their forth album, “HiRUDiN” (2020), is about being on a toxic relationship and that feeling of being lost on a maze, coming back to the point you started every time you try to turn a corner. In other words, it is a bold recognition of those behavior patterns and also a testimony about how we can break them.