Wollongong vocal powerhouse Olivia Bartley a.k.a. Olympia is back with Flamingo, her sophomore release following her 2016 efficacious debut, Self Talk. With the assistance of Burke Reid, producer of countless Australian Music Prize winning artists, Flamingo is an eleven-track journey about an individual searching for their identity.
Bartley erupts with the guitar-laden Star City, a story of reminiscence, of childhood dreams proven erroneous, before alluring with her exquisite vocal range on the deceptively heartbreaking Come Back. Continuing her exploration through the city, a distinct theme within Flamingo, Easy Pleasure delves further into the calamity of identity but with an assured self-awareness highlighting Bartley’s inner strength, “This city changed you/ easy pleasure/ don’t know how to let go of/ so you go and blame the one you love.”
Nervous Riders instrumentally alters the mood allowing Bartley’s striking vocals to radiate above all else, while the toe-tapping Hounds recaptures the organic energy experienced earlier in the track list.
The second half of Flamingo opens with Won’t Say That, the perfect juxtaposition to Easy Pleasure, and highlights a lyrical turning point, “And I won’t go changing/ no I won’t go changing.” Two Hands and Shoot to Forget return to the ostensibly unassuming sound that is scattered through the album and which Bartley has mastered. Bathed in rich pop melodies both yearn to be danced to. First You Leave, a synth-laden ballad, re-conjures the city motif while title track Flamingo captures a brooding, sultry sound which is mirrored in Wrong Number.
Flamingo is a solid piece of artistry from Olympia which successfully promotes strength, confidence and hopefulness amid scatterings of lyrical confusion and hopelessness. It is the type of album that grows on you with each listen and is sure to be another critical success for the singer/ songwriter/ guitarist.
Album Review By Anita Kertes