Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
on 18 June 2013
I found a great deal to enjoy in Austra's 2011 debut 'Feel It Break'.
This had everything and more to do with the voice of Katie Stelmanis;
a bit of a 'Marmite' instrument, truth-be-told, with its pronounced
Bjork-ish timbre and dramatic vibrato in her upper register but one
which becomes more approachable with greater familiarity and exposure.
Back for a second crack of the sonic whip, Ms Stelmanis and her fine band
of minstrels have become more listener-friendly in this collection of
twelve new compositions. The beats are stronger and the arrangements have
greater form and solidity than their earlier work. The affectionate nods
and winks to the eighties and a more pronounced electro-pop sensibility make
'Olympia' seem set to win this talented ensemble a whole lot of new friends.
Standout tracks include opening number 'What We Done' which emerges from
the clicks and crackles of its introductory bars in a cloud of warm brass,
grumbling bass and some nicely crafted harmonies; 'Painful Like' with its
bubbling Moroder-esque ostinato, crisp disco high-hat and sparkling synths;
'Home', an elegant melodic invention which delivers what is almost certainly
Ms Stelmanis' finest vocal performance and following a melancholy and strangely
affecting first subject 'You Changed My Life' discovers a dark and undulating
groove which propels the song towards an unsettling and ambiguous conclusion.
There is substantial development evident in the evolution of Austra's vision.
Keep them in your sights; I sense that there will be even greater things to come.