Protest With Hope
The third full-length album from Austra, Future Politics, is inspired by Katie Stelmanis’s solo travels through Mexico City and Montreal. That time alone seems to have shown her what really creates the essence of a community, the relationships within and what can and is tearing those things apart.
The quiet, subtle opening of “We Were Alive” is quickly interjected by lyrics that waste no time at getting to the point, calling out the distinct apathy of others while trying to move through life. “Future Politics” and “Utopia” follow with more images of a future world in which this selfish mentality eventually disappears. As the album progresses, no matter what the inherent message, the desire to find this utopia remains present.
At times, Future Politics’ sound has a hard time finding a healthy balance. There are sparse moments during which things can start to drag and at other times the music becomes overly layered and textured, turning into white noise. What remains solid throughout, though, is Stelmanis’s voice – not just in sound, which is smartly kept mostly unaltered leaving it bare and humanized, but in its message. Especially in a time of such uncertainty, the message of hope is needed and wanted, making it easier to connect with Stelmanis’s emphasis on the future of the community. Future Politics is a protest that is radical in its optimism, and though it may not be any easier to access than a more enraged protest album, its positivity is refreshing.