Elisabeth Woronzoff: Earlier this year, Austra announced the release of the album HiRUDiN, due out 1 May via Domino. The first released tracks, “Risk It” and “Anywayz”, are exciting glimpses into the album’s dazzling electropop schema. “Anywayz”, in particular, is a musical exploration of the fear associated with leaving someone and the even more frightening realization that life continues. The track opens with Katie Stelmanis’ vocals, stark and vulnerable. The track builds with tempo shifts, informing Stelmanis’ intensity while disallowing the listener from experiencing quietude. “Anywayz” is intentionally erratic, musically unpredictable and mercurial. Likewise, the music video’s rapid cuts and scene changes are emblematic of the chaos associated with heartbreak. “Anywayz” is undoubtedly evocative of the upcoming album’s ingenuity. [8/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Images of Austra’s Katie Stelmanis isolated in an empty house as “the world keeps turning”, and nature creeps in seem oddly prescient two weeks later as we all sit in social distance from one another. As always, Stelmanis’ vocals are gorgeous, a quasi-operatic opening giving way to luminous harmonies; twisted power chords add to a timeless sense of melancholy majesty. The brief stylistic shift about two and a half minutes in feels a little out of place as Stelmanis takes on a less remarkable and more conventional vocal delivery. Still, it’s a small quibble in an otherwise beautifully crafted single with an eerily on-point message of human fragility. [7/10]
Karen Zarker: Pretty, and spooky, and pretty spooky, Austra’s haunting “Anywayz” video evokes Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others. As with Nicole Kidman’s Grace, there’s no mystery as to which side of love and life Austra’s unsettling visage strolls, and which side she fears. The gauzy and shadowy interior conveys a broken heart and a broken mind. Her harmonized soprano echos in a lonely place and sends sparkly chills up your spine. [8/10]
Sarah Zupko: Led by a melody so gorgeous and timeless that you swear Bach himself wrote it, Austra’s “Anywayz” blossoms from that into a sparkling synthpop tune before it heads back to wistful, haunting verses. Simply beautiful. This is already one of my songs of the year. [9/10]
Austra’s “Anywayz” appears on HiRUDiN, releasing 1 May 2020 via Domino and Pink Fizz Recordings.