New Zealand’s Tiny Ruins aka Hollie Fullbrook, with her debut LP Some Were Meant for Sea, finds in its simplicity of form a way to musically illustrate the purity of coastal landscape that embellish its cover art; painting tender and quaint stories of fictitious, perhaps allegorical figures that are as vivid as the climes in which they are placed.
Recorded in a “diminutive hall, once the local school of South Gippsland’s Morraya, Australia”, Fullbrook presents an album of folk formed from just guitar and piano, with subtle flutters of strings here and there which wisp around her intimate intonations. Two older songs from Little Notes, worked upon last year as a split EP with Swedish songwriter A Singer of Songs also recur, while newer tracks flourish with richly depicted characters who sit starkly against their more often than not sparse and yet complimentary instrumentation.
‘Old as the Hills’ paints the image of an unnamed woman’s mythical past, placing her deep within these hills, with gradual thunderous percussion that builds to a crescendo by the last 30 seconds, while ‘Bird in the Thyme’ is solemnly steeped in thick cello chords never shifting from its dour seat. Conversely ‘You’ve got the Kind of Nerve I Like”s piano bounces along with a certainty, while ‘Just Desserts’ tentatively plays on desserts and desertion; all those day to day oscillating likes and dislikes. For an album of such light musical accompaniment Some Were Meant For Sea retains a diversity amongst its subtle nuances and Fullbrook’s voice which carries us through.
Having supported the likes of Beach House, Joanna Newsom and Olof Arnalds it goes without saying that this 20 something New Zealander is more than one to watch. In fact she may appear NZ’s answer to Laura Marling, her vocals wise and rich beyond their years, while the clarity of her stripped back folk songs belie the depth in the words uttered and curious stories told.
The Priest With Balloons (Live version: not on album)
1. Old As The Hills
2. Priest With Balloons
3. You’ve Got The Kind Of Nerve I Like
4. Death Of A Russian
5. Adelphi Apartments
6. Little Notes
7. Cat In The Hallway
8. Running Through The Night
9. Just Desserts
10. Pigeon Knows
11. Bird In The Thyme