Austra's singular debut, Feel It Break, was released nearly two years ago, making the buildup leading to their sophomore effort, Olympia (slated to come out on June 18th), even more anticipatory. The second single we've heard from the album, "Painful Like," is in keeping with the overall tone Austra has come to be known for: Danceable beats with opera-like vocals. Lead singer Katie Stelmanis, herself classically trained in opera, has managed to consistently innovate the sound of pop music with her specific breed of voice.
The sound of "Painful Like," with its naturally visceral lyrics, toes the line between a Giorgio Moroder-produced track and something you would hear at an orchestra performance. Ordinarily, this sort of combination might not come off without a hitch, but in the adroit hands of Austra, the song is easily better than anything they've released to date. With a bassline that echoes tinges of equal parts Studio 54 and Ibiza beach party, the track is an essential for any complete summer playlist.
Not only has Austra exhibited their ability to surpass expectations for topping Feel It Break, but they have also displayed an overt sense of social consciousness. Stelmanis, an overt supporter of the LGBT scene, has noted of the song's lyrics that it's about "the disillusionment of growing up gay in a small town and finding solace in the arms of a lover." With such a dynamic and compelling sentiment to establish the theme for Olympia, it will come as no surprise if this album is one of the best of 2013.
Listen to the track below.