I had a listen to Austra’s new album Future Politics (2017), lured by the far-future sci-fi theme and a reviewer’s rather ambitious comparison to Eno’s famous album Another Green World. Though I was almost dissuaded from investigating, by off-putting leftist virtue-signalling in a media interview. But, like the Russians under communism, I’m increasingly developing cognitive filters of sufficient strength to enjoy well-made media even while batting away the feeble leftist cant found in weaponised narratives. So I gave it a go.

I was glad I persevered with Austra as there’s doesn’t seem a lot of evidence for serious politics, that I could remember after two listens. Some cliched lyrics about “Gaia”, however well wrapped up in electopop, does not make one the new Poly Styrene.

Austra’s sound is… well, think: Joanna Newsom backed by Komputer. Both whom I like, but surprisingly not in this particular combination. Or not for the most part. Many of the songs on the album, and its predecessor Olympia (2013), don’t appeal.

However… I did find what was looking for. There’s definitely a really cracking electropop sci-fi E.P. hiding out in those two Austra albums. And, thanks to YouTube, here it is…


Olympia:

“Reconcile”

Part Jerry Cornelius time-shifting, part Bradbury’s “The Veldt”, with backing singers evoking the Medieval Baebes.


Future Politics:

“Utopia”

Bio-engineer seeks love in a future mega-city?

“Freepower”

A lament that robot companions are not truly alive? In a toe-tapping style that recalls Jimmy Somerville’s future/present song at the end of Orlando.

“Beyond a Mortal”

A hauntingly lovely song, with very hard-to-catch lyrics. But perhaps about being in love with someone who has made themselves immortal?