Autra-Olympia

The first thing you notice when you listen to Austra is, of course, Katie Stelmanis’ operatic vocal lines somersaulting over each track. Strong vocals can often be as much distraction as attraction, but there’s a hint of Braids’ affinity for balance in ‘Olympia’, and the fluttering synths that underpin most of the songs on the album are far from neglected.

You’ll find a whole lot of twinkling and chiming and victorious, mournful horn on ‘Reconcile’, while single ‘Home’ relies on delicate percussion and swooning verses to earn its place. Austra have acquired a unified sense of direction since their debut and, sonically, ‘Olympia’ is undoubtedly well crafted, but that’s just what most of these songs feel like, rather than essential listening.

You can find plenty of moments of artistic precision here, but these twelve tracks don’t insist on themselves like great songs should.


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