It’s somewhat surprising that a trio of moody Canadian’s with a fine line in dark and downbeat synth pop decided to call themselves Austra, the Latvian goddess of light. Maybe it’s their little joke to show the world that behind their dour exterior beat the hearts of stand-up comedians.

Their debut album Feel It Break certainly isn’t awash with light or humour. Lyrically impenetrable and sonically heavy its ballistic beats thump like the heartbeat of a heavyweight champion. The album’s fourth track, Beat And The Pulse, would have been a perfect title.

Across eleven tracks that are so on trend they could be wearing Philip Treacy titfers, singer Katie Stelmanis’s voice swoops and soars from ecstasy to pain and back again. It’s an instrument in its own right and boy do Austra make the most of it. From the soaring, operatic opener Darken Her Horse to The Beast, the brutal, beautiful ballad that brings the album to a close Katie’s vocals turn potentially ordinary tracks into real works of beauty.

The album’s stand-out track, second single Lose It, sounds like Kate Bush colliding with the Knife. It’s catchier than a pitcher’s glove soaked in super glue with a Euro disco beat that’ll knock ‘em dead in the basement bars of Berlin. The Choke is simply stunning while Hate Crime and Villain could be the point at which The Cocteau Twins and the early albums of Depeche Mode meet and form a lifelong partnership.

Feel It Break is a powerful, emotional album that slowly reveals its subtleties. It creates its own mood and is one of those rare albums that will sound just as good in 10 years time as it does the moment it first caresses your ears. This is an album that will no doubt be a feature on everyone’s best of lists at the end of year.

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