Olympia - Austra
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 15 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length studio release for the Canadian-based electro-pop band led by Katie Stelmanis is said to have been a more collaborative effort.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Jun 18, 2013
    This is easily Austra's most exciting and fully formed piece of work yet.
  2. Jun 17, 2013
    Sub-zero synths and crashing drums resound through this fine second album, while the powerful, tremulous voice of frontwoman Katie Stelmanis instils even minor sentiments with a sense of operatic foreboding.
  3. 80
    Olympia’s aura pervades the listening sphere Austra has fabricated for their second LP, transcending the frozen cave of their first to the upper echelons of atmospheric dance-pop.
  4. Jun 26, 2013
    Stelmanis has said she listened to a lot of early Cat Power while recording Olympia, and while nothing here sounds anywhere near as stark, the lyrics often do, and lead appropriately tense, nervy sounding songs.
  5. Jun 20, 2013
    It doesn’t push boundaries in the same way that Feel It Break busted up notions of genres, but its smooth production stabilizes the lyrics’ emotional bombast.
  6. 70
    Ultimately this is an album to dance, not cry, to.
  7. Katie Stelmanis's emotionally tortured vibrato meshes with her band's lush textures to often-potent effect.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jul 5, 2013
    Just when you thought you had heard everything Austra could offer on the rather diverse 'Feel It Break', 'Olympia' comes along with a bang and offers such a magical synth-packed package you'll wish the record would never end. The band went for a more conventional synth-pop direction this time round ('We Become') but kept the quirkiness in their music ('What We Done?', 'Fire') that made us all fall in love with them. Not only the album manages to sound varied while still making the impression of a cohesive set, but also the songs themselves change in sound several times between their beginnings and endings ('Home'), making it impossible for the listener to get bored of them. Although the trio's sophomore album is much more dancey than their previous effort, it isn't short of emotional pieces; 'Olympia' sounds like the perfect bittersweet soundtrack for shedding tears on the dancefloor. Collapse
  2. Jul 21, 2013
    Austra made their sound just a tiny bit poppier and more danceable and it's done them wonders. It's a very good, gothy synthpop album with excellent, operatic vocals and strong melodies. Expand
  3. Jul 4, 2013
    In 2011 the Canadian 3-piece released their debut album Feel It Break which was a dark and moody electronic album, it had sad overtones, which tremble into Olympia. The album, whilst having a generally more up beat sound to it, does have it's darker moments, like on album opener "What We Done", which is one of the better songs on the album. Austra remain electronic, despite the heavy piano usage throughout the album. Even with greater use of piano, the album still manages to feel dancy.

    After, "What We Done", it's not until "Home" where the album picks itself up from mediocrity. The songs in between feel a bit tired. "Home" uses the sounds of the piano well like "The Beast" did on Feel it Break.

    "I Don't Care (I'm a Man)" is soft and gentle, but it feels to short, more like an interlude, and I wish it was longer because it is one of the stronger ideas that feature on the album. The album from there turns up the "dance" but then also brings in more quiet piano, a theme in the album that sits slightly uneasily with me, it seems like they want to make a dance album, but they want to have the elegance that a piano brings, I'm not to sure.

    By far, the best song along with "Home" is "Hurt Me Now", which surprised me in being the last track. It feels like a song from Feel it Break, or I should rather say, it feels like what Olympia should have been. It's that right transition in sound, it's not as dark, but not to quiet, it's lively, you can dance to it, but it's not confused. I just wish the rest of the album was this focused.

    Overall, Austra bring a mixed bag for album number two, but one that can still be enjoyed, even though there is that thought of "What could have been?"