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coverpic flag New Zealand - Full Moon 237 - 12/25/15

Tiny Ruins & Hamish Kilgour
Hurtling Through
Flying Nun Records / Bella Union

Auckland, New Zealand's Tiny Ruins is an indie-folk-rock project steered by singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook (vocals, guitars, etc.). Fullbrook (and her backing players) has released two full-length albums so far: Some Were Meant for Sea (Own Records/Spunk Records/Woo Me, 2011) and Brightly Painted One (Bella Union/Spunk/Arch Hill Recordings/Flying Nun, 2014). For this short mini-album, or EP, Fullbrook has teamed up with NZ rock legend Hamish Kilgour of legendary The Clean (and The Mad Scene). You'd better check out Kilgour's first solo album, last year's jangly All of It and Nothing.

Fullbrook and Kilgour met up in New York City (where Kilgour is based) over two periods (in 2013 and 2014), and they recorded these seven songs with Gary Olson (of The Ladybug Transistor) at his Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn. Hurtling Through is a collection of hushed, softly twisted folk-songs. Elegantly sung and performed by Hollie on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, cello, organ, dulcimer, and Hamish on drums, percussion, windchimes, jews harp, harmonica, shakers, guiro, tambourine, tabla, hand drums, and spoon! Plus a few additional musicians and mood/effect makers, including Space Echo by Gary Olson. All songs was written by Hollie Fullbrook, except for lyrics based on W.B. Yeats poems on two of the tracks: the opening "Tread Softly" (lyrics from Yeats' poem "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven") and "Wandering Aengus" (Yeats' poem "The Song of Wandering Aengus". The latter song is also based on Irish folk singer Christy Moore's version ('chords credit') of this song (Moore did "The Song of Wandering Aengus" for the V/A tribute Now & In Time to Be (The Works of Yeats), 1997). In fact, these two tracks stand out as the best on this short record. Especially "Wandering Aengus" is a gripping song. 'Tread solfly' is in fact two key-words for this album, as Hollbrook and Kilgour tread softly indeed when doing these fragile, soft-spoken, minimalistic folk songs. "Wandering Aengus" is a piece of magic. Nothing less.

Hollbrook's voice makes me think of Sandy Denny, but a indie-rock version. Maybe a bit nearer, say, Maryrose Crook of The Renderers (another NZ act, slightly more into the sandblasted Country/Americana genre). Well, Tiny Ruins sound like a purer folk act (except the exerimental field recording of a late at night walk in Brooklyn entitled "Public Menace"). Hurtling Through ends with the beautiful "King's County", which is an excellent and very pleasant song. For King and County. Who's the King of NZ, anyway? Is it one of the Kilgours? (or is it Chris Knox, or Robert Scott, or is it King of Pop, Mr. Martin Phillips? Well, whatever, Hollie Fullbrook is the Queen herself this time around. Hurtling Through is a perfect little platter if you want to relax and kill some stress symptoms in your life.

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