One listen to Austra’s 2011 debut, “Feel It Break,” and it was clear that frontwoman Katie Stelmanis was not like the other girls. She’s a classically trained singer with a pedigree honed from performing with a children’s opera chorus. It made sense, then, that her Toronto band’s first album was an electro-pop confection fraught with brooding drama and tension, a direction that continues on Austra’s new sophomore release. “Olympia” finds the six-piece operating on a broader plane, letting some light creep into arrangements that toggle between big, throbbing beats and quieter, Gothic introspection. A somnambulant sheen hangs over “Sleep,” while “Annie (Oh Muse, You)” thumps with a primal heartbeat and “Painful Like” summons the ghosts of ’80s new wave. “Home” picks up the tempo even more with a jaunty piano line surrounded by tropical flutes and guttural grunts. Stelmanis’s voice, as ever, remains the focal point, swooping down hard on notes with a tremor that belies just how sturdy her songs are. (Out Tuesday) JAMES REED
ALBUM REVIEW | INDIE POP
By James Reed| Globe Staff June 18, 2013
Read it all, now.
Don't miss any of your favorite stories again. Read the stories that matter to you as much as you want, whenever you want when you subscribe to BostonGlobe.com.
Get full access today for just 99¢