Published Jan 29, 2019Olympic Girls begins in long weekend exhilaration, "stirring / shaking / all of us waking." It drips and it blinds you, its tempo flaring like the kind of daylight that makes you consider the passage of time.
Hollie Fullbrook spouts intricate story-songs like those that made 2014's Brightly Painted One lacy leafwork. She scrawls "your name in cursive / on the air," watches as "five million flowers / spill to the river." But Olympic Girls' eyes also have dizzy diamonds in them, and suddenly, more is possible. A Greek sculpture yearns in the underworld. Holograms of Hollie slow dance in some aspirational future.
There is a wooziness to the songs' production too, due in part to bandmate and Olympic Girls producer Tom Healy. A sometimes-psychedelic tinge lifts Fullbrook's usual folk just off the ground. But Fullbrook's voice is still what grants the fine lines life. When she's "struck by a feeling" she finds hard to describe, the whole flutter is there, just in the way she swallows it.
Olympic Girls is an experiment in boundaries, arms outstretched, wondering if there is other life. But, just as she wonders, far from home, how far can you float "before you're stranded?" The truth is, Fullbrook is still best in her little moments, when it's "cold enough to climb inside your arms / in my mind." When she transcends herself, instead of the atmosphere, and "I leave myself behind." (Milk!)