Austra - Future Politics
To say that the 2016 American election was divisive would be one of the biggest understatements you would make. Where the adage use to go that you never bring up Politics or Religion at the dinner table those two things became the center of almost every goddamned facebook post out there. It was us vs. them regardless of who the "Us" and who the "Them" actually are. That is where Austra's new record Future Politics finds itself, a world on edge where one's political beliefs become the whole of their being. Throughout the record she is grappling with this idea that we can never be a nuanced person who can hold on belief, yet may believe the opposite on something else. It is a long road to get to a synth-dance album but Austra uses the brighter tones to accent Her struggle rather than focus entirely on them. "I Love You More Than You Love Yourself" becomes this plea for people to recognize the good in eachother, but the way Austra sings like she is yelling into the void makes it unlikely anyone will her the message. The way Austra delivers her vocals however come through almost as incantations or mantras. She feels as though she is pulling something from far away and delivering it to you in almost a whisper.
Musically Austra has stripped things down, and refined her sound. There is far less fluff on Future Politics which allows it to be more nimble and for the beat to just sort of lightly bounce. "Freepower" is an example of this as Austra sings far in the background the beat is right in your face with this great little bop. The entire dance aspect of the track is quite great and really smooth. Much of the record however does sound very similar, it seems that Austra's choices to go smaller also painted her in a bit of a box musically. The vibe that she creates is so chill that the more political statements just wash over you as you slowly melt away. This album would be a fantastic soundtrack to your next journey into the psychedelic void. It is almost similar to Purity Ring but more airy, Austra allows for so much space but not with silence more with her light touch. In the end it is a record about hope, and belief in the future even if at times that means wadding through the muck to get there. Future Politics really is something special and feels very fitting for this very moment.
8.4 out of 10