Austra - Olympia
Critic Score
Based on 27 reviews
2013 Ratings: #226 / 1035
User Score
Based on 113 ratings
2013 Ratings: #261
Liked by 1 person
June 18, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
Art Pop, Synthpop / Genres
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austramusic.com / Website
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The 405

Austra have soared down Pop Alley, pilfering earworms and massive choruses that are then slotted into their own songs, and though it's more intimate, it never once feels like it.

Pretty Much Amazing

A hypnotic mixture of chimes, gorgeous gothic synthesizers, and heavy emotional confessions, it is not a dance record in the conventional sense. Olympia is meant for after the party has ended, and only the specters of unresolved emotion remain. 

Drowned in Sound

It’s a much more dancefloor-orientated record than its predecessor, marked by flirtations with everything from piano house to dubstep – which sounds a touch voguish, but that’s kind of not how it comes across at all.

The Fly

There’s much to enjoy, not least on the despairing, rave-tinged ‘Home’ and the vibrant bounce of the otherwise yearning ‘Forgive Me’.


Olympia feels like the beginning of a more sustainable, and versatile, direction for the band.

Consequence of Sound

Rather than sitting on the sidelines in the shimmering darkness of their first full-length, Austra break through the fifth dimension to otherworldly realms with 12 multi-faceted tracks that are fused together with Chicago house and their accessible dance-pop hooks.

Beats Per Minute

The growth in Austra from Feel It Break to Olympia is palpable throughout. You’re fully conscious that this is the work of many minds building the tracks together, which was certainly not the case previously. 


The main change from Feel It Break isn't adding beats but adding more in general: the core trio doubled to a six-piece, bringing more layers to Katie Stelmanis' songwriting, and pushing it in a more house-inspired synth-pop direction.


Nothing here quite matches the excitement of Feel It Break highlights "The Beat And The Pulse" and "Lose" It ... But this doesn’t stop Olympia being a sizeable step up from its predecessor and a fine album in its own right.


It meanders a touch in the middle, but in general 'Olympia' is a genuinely bold attempt from Austra to expand on their debut while retaining most of what it was that made them stand out in the first place.

Under The Radar

The group continues to serve up the dark, arty goods but keeps 'em digestible, taking pages out of, say, Depeche Mode or Kate Bush's playbooks.


It’s a much more complicated affair than their 2011 album ‘Feel It Break’, both emotionally and instrumentally. 


Olympia is Austra’s second album and second success, led by Stelmanis’ ear for melody and her piercing tenor, which guides all the tracks faithfully, regardless of if the dark/electronic/indie tags associated with the band read like a disclaimer. 


The hits and even the misses on Austra’s latest end up being more revelatory than the one-note perfectionism of Feel It Break, because the music on Olympia reflects what Katie Stelmanis’ songs are about: coming into your own by moving out of your comfort zone.

No Ripcord

The broader musical palette, compared to the endearingly cheap, stylistically odd approach of the first record ensures that, perhaps for the first time, the aural landscape is suitably wide and spacious enough for that voice, too.

A.V. Club

Not all of Olympia’s added complexity works to its benefit, but the album succeeds as a necessary stepping-stone on Stelmanis’ path of artistic discovery.

It's a pretty record but falls short of their debut release. Frankly, I was hoping for an expansion upon what Austra achieved on 'Feel It Break'. That didn't happen and the pop constructs remain strong, but, again, without any apparent effort to rise above their earlier achievement. Regardless, Austra remains a band to watch and enjoy. It's like I have often said, average in this population is nothing to scoff at!
My album of 2013, no doubt about it. I'm glad they didn't rehash their first darkwave-heavy album, although it is basically as good as this one, and decided to tread new ground and create something that's nothing like their debut. It's an album that works wonderfully as an ensemble piece, hence the 96, not so sure about randomly listening to one song off it. What We Done, Painful Like, Fire, and We Become are my favorite tracks. Interestingly, the album lacks the big ... read more
What We Done? - 10
Forgive Me - 10
Painful Like - 10
Sleep - 10
Home - 10
Fire - 10
I Don't Care (I'm A Man) - 10
We Become - 10
Reconcile - 10
Annie (Oh Muse, You) - 10
You Changed My Life - 10
Hurt Me Now - 10
olympia, or, as i like to call it, boorrrinngggggg i don't remember any song

favourites: none
least favourites: allll of itt
I was upset with this album i could only find two songs that i enjoyed the rest was just making me wonder if I really wanted to finish this album. Kind of a lower rating than their first album.
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Track List

  1. What We Done?
  2. Forgive Me
  3. Painful Like
  4. Sleep
  5. Home
  6. Fire
  7. I Don t Care (I m a Man)
  8. We Become
  9. Reconcile
  10. Annie (Oh muse, you)
  11. You Changed My Life
  12. Hurt Me Now
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Added on: March 7, 2013