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Olympia - DOMINO
FILTER Grade: 85%

By Kenny S. McGuane on June 19, 2013



The lead single, “Home,” from Toronto-based Austra’s sophomore album Olympia is an aching and concentrated piano-driven piece of pop music melodrama, with lead vocalist Katie Stelmanis lamenting, “You know that it hurts me when you don’t come home at night.” It’s both rare and refreshing to hear such a direct and bullshit-free lyric, and this record is loaded with them, like on the pulsating “Forgive Me,” where Stelmanis repeats, “What do I have to do to make you forgive me?” Olympia quite successfully fuses layers and layers of snips, snaps and electro slaps with Stelmanis’ bizarre and beautiful vocals. It’s distinctive. It’s avant-garde. It’s confident. And similar to labelmates Junior Boys and Wild Beasts, on Olympia, the six members that make up Austra do a stellar job of navigating a sea of vintage synth sounds and applying them tastefully and appropriately so that they sound at once both retro-cool and strikingly forward-thinking.


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