Olympia: Self Talk

-By Conor Graham

With some of the best music videos of the year, Melbourne’s Olympia’s debut album Self Talk has been on my radar for some time now and I finally got a chance to get it in and around my ears.

Olympia (real name: Olivia Bartley) has released a total of four singles from the album already, three last year and Smoke Signals released early March 2016. The dreamy synth-pop production of Burke Reid (The Drones) is being released through EMI Australia on April 29th. Bartley admits the album is ‘definitely a collaboration’ between herself and Burke Reid. The album features potentially hugely popular pop tunes if given the right exposure, riddled with unexpected hooks and psychedelic atmospheres. ‘The title Self Talk is about observing the stories we tell ourselves…it’s also a nod to the religion of self help.’
The opening track Honey is one we’ve heard before when it was released as a single over a year ago. This ethereal beginning to the record carries the listener into a calm atmosphere before launching us into her most recent single. Olympia says Smoke Signals is inspired by the Japanese reality show called ‘Sweepstakes Life’ where a man was in solitary isolation, naked for over a year and half while being live streamed 24 hours a day before the government stepped in to cancel it…as she said herself, ‘Only in Japan’. Fishing Knots / Blood Vessels follows and is one that fans of Haim and Canadian Indie-Pop icons, Alvvays will be adding to their playlists by the end of the first phrase.

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things has a glittery light and airy chorus that just makes you want to smile and sway in the background of some ridiculous Top of The Pops production from the mid-80’s. This is a feeling the album depicts throughout, an imagery played on by Olympia in her vintage music videos full of trippy editing. Somewhere to Disappear reminded me immediately of Sharon Van Etten’s melodies with hints of Beach House thrown in just for good measure. Subtle yet effective sitar licks flow beautifully behind the lyrics which explore the desire to run away.

Self Talk never loses its momentum regardless of the differently paced songs dotted with catchy hooks, poignant lyrics and dreamy synths. The album signs off with the ironically titled Opening Hours with its ‘playful take on discontent’.

I can’t help but think that Olympia has created a huge audience already with her single releases that only will expand through this release with songs appealing to many genres aided by an instantly lovable lead vocal. Her ability to write a song that is almost instantly remembered without ticking the typical boxes is very refreshing. If you feel like you need a new feel good, sing-a-long record or just for sessions cleaning the bathroom…Self Talk is out on the 29th April.

Olympia is playing in Perth at Amplifier June 24th and Odd Fellows June 25th.

Self Talk is out Friday the 29th of April.

Photo Credit: Olympia

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