July 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Austra – Habitat

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Austra

Habitat

Domino Records

Street: 06.17

Austra = Trust + Grimes

This four-track release finds Austra tinkering with Euro-style synth music to complement the long-awaited recording of the EP’s title track, a fan favorite at live shows since the Feel It Break era. Beginning with a synth patch that mimics the opening of Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours,” their cult tune “Habitat” twists its way into a walloping dance number, over which soprano-priestess Katie Stelmanis chants, “I want you, I need you, brother.” The accompanying tracks are mostly instrumentals: “Doepfer,” named after the German audio hardware manufacturer, is a coldwave-style modular automation; “Bass Drum Dance” relies on a spooky keyboard refrain that fades under a crisp hi-hat rhythm and Stelmanis’ eerie wails; and “Hulluu” rounds them out with a steel-pan patch that goes a bit wonky. This excellent electronic experiment is a highly competent labor of love. Get the limited edition 12” for supreme listening.
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