Austra – Beat and The Pulse (Domino) 21/02/2011
February 21, 2011 by Neale Ross
After polishing her songwriting craft as a former solo act along with performing with various bands in Toronto, Canada – Katie Stelmanis has combined those experiences and has formed the electro-goth band Austra along with fellow collaborators Dorian Wolf on bass, and Maya Postepski as beat programmer. Having now singed with Domino Records, Austra have released their first record in the form of a 3-track EP “Beat and the Pulse”.
The retro electronica of the title track fuses a vintage synth arpeggio with atmospheric textures which produce a brilliantly moody dance vibe. Once the vocals kicked in, I was immediately reminded of the distinctive voice of the Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson, however, despite the clear influence of their Scandinavian peers, Stelmanis’ dominant vocal carries the song very well – especially during the chorus where she belts out the words “Feel it breath / Nothing is Lost”.
“Energy” continues with the gloomy theme, and features layers of eerie electronic tones that are driven forward by a hypnotic drum machine – allowing Stelmanis’ powerful vocals to be the final ingredient to complete this stylish track. The record finishes with “Young & Gay”, again a kind of dark mid-tempo electronic track with a pounding four to the floor beat. Although quite similar in style with the rest of the EP – it manages to create a bleak atmosphere that even includes a catchy chorus of “In my head / The fool that you will know”.
Austra have released a great taster for their forthcoming debut LP which will be released this spring. While their fellow Torontonians Crystal Castles may have already crossed over to the mainstream through a similar gothic dance style – it looks like we could have yet another exciting electronica act to look out for who will carry on this new wave of goth.