Austra – Feel It Break (Domino Records)
May 31, 2011 by Henry Fry
Considering in recent weeks Domino, one of the best uk labels, has released some of the most anticipated records this year – including the ever so beautiful Smother by Wild beasts, a new Arctic Monkeys record, Alex Turner’s solo album and the Hot Chip/Spiritulized love child About Group – it is understandable that Austra may not have had the look in that they deserve.
I don’t however think this is the only reason. What lead singer Katie Stelmanis originally did in 2009, and has brought to Austra, is sadly nothing new and even if it was I’m not sure it would even be good enough. The album does have some truly great moments; lead single ‘Beat and the Pulse’ lends itself to both a spine tingling home listen and a euphoric club experience, and is then taken to a new level with a rather wonderful remix by the mystery that is Vondelpark. Also, Stelmansis’s operatic tones bring something great to ‘Darken Her Horse’ and ‘Lose It’, both of which are tracks I can’t help but enjoy.
However, every time I listen to the album by about half way through I find myself returning to much more familiar territory and truly losing myself in Fever Ray’s last record. A record so similar but one which hits every mark; a truly haunting record that does unexplained things to you. This only makes me wonder why Domino have added Austra to their rosta, which is so strong, infact probably stronger then any other label at the moment. Why they didn’t even put it on a sub label? Don’t get me wrong, Feel It Break is a good record and one I really wanted to adore but with all these questions rattling round in my head it’s one that’s probably easier to ignore.