Album Review – Austra “Olympia” (Synth Pop)

Austra - OlympiaOlympia is fun to dance to yet, dreamy enough to sit back and let it wash over you like the ocean waves. Katie’s vocals is the focal point of Austra’s latest effort. Mixed much louder and present than any other element of the music. Her big, soaring voice can’t help but be compared to Florence and the Machine’s. The similarity is obvious, however Katie is more concerned with the blending in with the music, and not overpowering too much, complementing the groovy, easy going nature of the music. While electronic pop is clearly their style, they utilize as much “real world” sounds as possible, some songs feature real drums, others programmed. This indie rock vs synth pop approach is exciting to hear within one project because it keeps the listener intrigued, even on a subconscious level. They make sure to serve the song more than considering what type of instrument they are using, which maximizes the quality of the entire project. For example, the track Forgive Me features dubstep wobbles, which is just bizarre to hear, but ear pulling nonetheless. What brings the “fun” to the mix are the funky, Chromeo-like disco bass synth lines, and percussion loops, keeping the low, deep bass and melancholy vibes lighthearted and easy to dance to. This perfect blend of natural, down to earth indie rock sounds combined with the smooth, sultry vibes of 80’s synth pop topped with Katie’s huge vocals create a soundscape that is both friendly for the dance floor and bedroom dreams. 4/5 Dragons

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