Published Jun 13, 2014Austra's Olympia was a great sophomore record, one that took the chilly atmosphere of their debut and warmed it up until it turned neon. Last year we described it as the band's "most exciting and fully formed piece of work yet." Habitat finds them continuing in much the same direction, even though the title track is in fact much older than those sessions. Austra explained that "Habitat" was a bit of an outlier, as it found a home into the band's live sets but never onto a record until now.
It's a very dark and moody song, but imbued with the dynamic production and melodicism that made Olympia such a stand out. Katie Stelmanis' vocals are notably absent from the latter tracks, though with "Doepfer" and "Bass Drum Dance," it's hard to tell where they might fit in. The final track, "Hulluu," is a bit more playful and fun, with Maya Postepski at the helm, taking it into weirder territory more characteristic of her solo work. Releasing this EP might seem like a bit of fan service, but the tracks are far from filler; they're a revealing look at where the band find themselves creatively at the moment. (Paper Bag)