Music Review: Future Politics
Domino Recording Company
Electronic pop band Austra was founded in Toronto, Canada, in 2009 by opera-trained vocalist Katie Stelmanis. (Austra is her middle name.) Their third album, Future Politics is musically alluring and angular and dripping with sociopolitical insight. The provocative lyrics are wrapped in creative synth patterns and stunning, sometimes ultra-high-pitched vocals by Stelmanis.
The opening song poses a question that would only be asked by someone who’s beginning to awaken from a dark slumber: “What if we were alive?” Stelmanis continues by further surrendering: “Doctor, what’s the cure for apathy? / Come and pick me up.”
The centerpiece of the album is the melodious and danceable title song, which sums up our current times: “Maybe I’m alone / But I know this / I’m never coming back here / There’s only one way / Future politics.” The same song also grabs capitalism by the horns: “I don’t want to hear that it’s all my fault / The system won’t help you when your money runs out.”
While the macabre videos for songs on Future Politics emphasize the alienation of modern civilization, Austra is all about a positive future. The band’s website has a manifesto that states, “Future politics is the realization that we have the power to imagine, invent and create a life for ourselves that is different. . . . We don’t have to burn fossil fuels to function, we don’t have to be spied on, to go to war. We don’t have to believe in individualism, socialism, conservatism, neoliberalism, we can believe in something that doesn’t exist yet.” Future Politics