Austra - HiRUDiN (Domino Record Co, 2020)
Synthpop has been returning to some extent in recent years. Proof of this is the music of the Canadian group Austra, whose 1.5. In 2020, released the fourth album “HiRUDiN”.
Oddball pop masterpiece “Mountain Baby” is the third song to be shared from Austra’s new LP, following “Risk It” and “Anywayz”. Alongside Cecile Believe (LA/Montreal artist and the “voice” and co-writer on SOPHIE’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides), “Mountain Baby” also features a kid’s choir – students from Wilkinson Public School in Toronto where Katie’s mother is a teacher.
The dichotomy of the choir and Cecile’s vocals reflect the song’s intentions. Katie explains further: “Mountain Baby explores the different stages of a breakup. Surrounded by a feeling of unknown and grounded only by a hidden sense to move forward (the choir), we’re also reminded through flashbacks of both the uncertainty and resistance we experienced in the relationship (Katie), as well as the pure, unbridled joy (Cecile).”
While Austra’s third album, 2017’s Future Politics, was concerned with the external power structures that shape society, HiRUDiN points inward, tracing a deeply personal journey towards regeneration, dealing with the fallout of toxic relationships, queer shame, and insecurity along the way.
Named after the peptide released by leeches that is the most potent anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN is about the importance of healing the self, letting go of harmful influences, and finding the power to rebuild.
Working between Toronto, London, and Spain in early 2018, Stelmanis, who has been the sole producer for Austra in the past, was joined by co-producers Rodaidh McDonald and Joseph Shabason for the first time. The resulting album reaps the rewards of Austra’s leap into the unknown, in her most introspective yet inventive statement to date.
NMR (photo: press Austra)