Katie Stelmanis' voice is both anchor and horizon of Austra, her trio with drummer Maya Postepski and bassist Dorian Wolf. Multi-tracked up and down the stave, it holds down the band's New Wave arrangements and arcs off into dreamy harmonic tangents. Like Fever Ray and The Knife, Austra tread a path between cyber-worlds and meatspace, pairing supersaturated, superhuman vocals with gleaming electronics; you can bet they're fans of Depeche Mode's Violator. Fortunately, they're more than mere stylists, giving songs like "Hate Crime" a magnetic quality that keeps pulling you back.
This stalled at No. 7 in the U.S. charts, but kept selling steadily to become DM's biggest hit. Violator features Martin Gore's strongest set of tunes with his "we're going to die at any time so let's have sex now" worldview getting aired in the charting singles "World In My Eyes," "Personal Jesus," "Enjoy The Silence," and "Policy of Truth." This edition of their best album is remastered and comes with bonus cuts.