Self Talk is the debut album from Melbourne singer and multi-instrumentalist Olivia Bartley, known as Olympia. Recorded with producer Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, The Drones, Sarah Blasko), the album is cohesive and well rounded.
Throughout Self Talk, Olympia draws inspiration from subjects as varied as a Japanese reality show (‘Smoke Signals’), and environmental issues (‘Honey’). This diversity allows the Melbourne musician to play with themes, creating depth and complexity within the album.
Four singles were released ahead of the album and give a sneak peek of what may be expected. The songs are, for the most part, catchy, upbeat and guitar-driven. Things then change with songs ‘Biscuits’ and ‘Blue Light Disco’.
In a recent interview with The Upside News, Olympia told us ‘Biscuits’ was the last song written for the album. It has a slower pace than the others and is much more piano-driven. On this track especially, Olympia’s vocals shine front and centre.
‘Blue Light Disco’ is dark and slow with soft vocals. It includes one of my favourite lyrics on the album: “in the backyard like some drunk uncle the jumping castle is taking on water”, a clear demonstration of Olympia’s lyrical, metaphorical nous.
‘Somewhere to Disappear’ stands out from the rest of the album with different guitar sounds. By this point, we are used to hearing the electronic guitars whine with feedback. ‘Somewhere to Disappear’ features an electronic guitar recorded acoustically so a lot of the strings can be heard. Despite its upbeat sound, Olympia calls this song “the saddest song on the record”.
The polished production is evidence of what Olympia calls one of the hardest experiences she’s ever had. She and Reid spent 20-hour days in the studio; often stripping songs right back to re-record them. The hard work has paid off. This album is going straight to my list of favourites and I look forward to seeing Olympia at the Producers Bar on June 11.
Self Talk is due for release April 29 and you can preorder it from her website by clicking HERE.
Read our recent chat with Olympia HERE.
Reviewed by Tessa Manning