One of my favorite records from two years ago is Feel It Break by the Toronto band Austra. Austra is fronted by classically trained opera singer Katie Stelmanis. And it shows in their songs. Between the hypnotizing loops and beats, Stelmanis’ voice shines high like a beacon, towering over the fog. Feel It Break keeps a steady pulsing beat – a slow drone that lures you in with Stelmanis and her voice playing the role of the siren. I loved that record a whole lot.
Now two years later, Austra are getting ready to release their sophomore record Olympia. While Feel It Break was largely a Katie Stelmanis-created record (Katie wrote most of the songs before founding Austra), Olympia is a more democratic album. For one, Maya Postepski, the band’s drummer had a hand in writing some of the album’s beats. The result of this collaborative process has allowed Olympia to be less singularly focused than Feel It Break and the new record becomes greater for it.
Olympia retains Feel It Break‘s addicting drone, but there is now more variety to its beats and sound. It feels more whole and more complete. And while Stelmanis’ wondeful high wail is ever-present, the songs in Olympia are more serene and confident in it’s own skin and what it wants to be. As a result, Austra has succeeded in creating an even better record than it’s already fantastic debut. One of my favorite releases this year.
Check out the lovely lonely video for first single Home embedded below.
Austra – Olympia comes out 6/18 via Domino (order here)