Article originally appeared on The Music 31st Jan 2019
Touring the world with names like Fleet Foxes, Beach House and Calexico, while featuring a line-up that shifts more than the tectonic plates under her New Zealand homeland, Hollie Fullbrook has built a solid base for herself out of Tiny Ruins. The latest album, Olympic Girls, is full of the finger-plucked guitar, homely metaphor, and low-key lyrical delivery that Fullbrook is known for.
Compared to the full-on three weeks it took to record Brightly Painted One, Tiny Ruins’ third record Olympic Girls was drawn over a full year and, while that fact can be seen in the polished production, it feels as though this additional time led to each track being forgotten before she recorded the next – on a cursory listen, there’s little to distinguish them.
Fullbrook’s vocals are beautiful and full, blooming out over the instrumentation in an encompassing way that feels oddly devoid of emotion despite the wistful sombreness of the lyrics. The overall effect is a little too perfect, like a rock wall that’s been filled with resin and buffed smooth – getting a handhold is all but impossible.
Olympic Girls is a tender feat of musicianship that politely asks you to listen rather than begging to be heard.