Canadian trio Austra have been lumped in with the synth-gothisms of Zola Jesus and Fever Ray, but there's a cleanliness and sharpness about them that belies those associations. Katie Stelmanis sings with a cut-glass voice, and the precision of the electronic music behind her – always carefully restrained, never overwhelming – might be chilly, but it's rarely foreboding. Lose It's hook combines a wordless chirrupp with a trebly synth line that sounds like tumbling icicles, but it is recognisably pop. The single Beat and the Pulse might be the reason for the goth comparisons: it's the darkest moment on the album, and came with a video YouTube saw fit to ban in its original form. Nevertheless, one wouldn't call Feel It Break straightforward: Stelmanis is mannered enough to keep listeners on their toes, without tipping over into being irritating, adding a dash of spice to a record capable of intriguing both art and pop crowds.
Austra: Feel It Break – review
Michael Hann is a freelance writer, and former music editor of the Guardian