I’ve been meaning to write on atOlla for months now. Sydney’s Matilda Stephanie and James Santos have been steadily building up their electronic music repertoire, each release without fail superseding the one that came before it. Part of this process has been trial and error and part of it has been intentional experimentation with different styles of production over the years, but on their latest track Bloom taken from their forthcoming 3rd EP Lucille, atOlla have finally hit on a perfect hybrid of synthpop and electronica, and I’m infatuated.
Hovering above the undulating synth chords, dynamic breaks and stylish ambience is frontwoman Matilda Stephanie’s elegant vocal performance, which strikes a rare blend of intimacy and authority. With a flair for narrative to back up her voice, Matilda paints rich and emotive stories with just a handful words, the result being striking lyrics like ‘Do not try to smother me / meant to be, it’s meant to be’. There’s a calculated unsteadiness to the instrumental on Bloom, with a shaky, sometimes deteriorating pitch underpinning the textured synthwork in a style reminiscent of fellow Sydney act Seekae.
Bloom is a lavish piece of synthpop that holds its own both instrumentally and lyrically as a unique and original work from this Sydney duo, and serves as a wonderful teaser for atOlla’s upcoming Lucille EP, which can’t come soon enough.