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Tiny Ruins Announce - 'Olympic Girls
to be released on Friday 27th September
by Milk! Records, Ba Da Bing Records & Marathon
Tiny Ruins announce the release of 'Olympic Girls
Solo', an acoustic recording of the widely acclaimed
third album. Featuring Hollie Fullbrook's arresting
vocals and intricate guitar playing, the solo recordings
reflect the sparse beauty of her earliest work. The
album features some of Fullbrook's most accomplished
songwriting, recorded onto tape in whole live takes
at Auckland's Roundhead Studios.
Hollie's songs start their lives as simply crafted
lyrics carried only by her guitar melodies and voice.
These solo recordings preserve the power and vulnerability
of the original incarnations, stripped of the rich,
soaring arrangements that her band contribute. The album
in its full-band release is undoubtedly one of Tiny
Ruins' finest. Intended as a companion piece rather
than an alternative version, this solo release offers
a special treat for the legions of Tiny Ruins fans who
appreciate songcraft in its barest form.
1. One Million Flowers
2. My Love Leda
3. Olympic Girls
4. Stars, False, Fading
5. Kore Waits in the Underworld
6. How Much
9. Cold Enough to Climb
10. School of Design
"Hollie Fullbrook's lovely understated voice and
wonky lyrical wisdom remain key on the third LP."
"Her most powerful album to date a deeper
listen to these eleven tracks exposes a breadth of influences
that spans decades."
"Part of the charm of Olympic Girls lies in the
layers of mystery in each song. Inspired by literature,
science, nature and human experience, these mysteries
lie waiting to be carefully unfolded "
God Is In the TV - 9/10
"She is always looking uneasily toward the next
line, or moving toward mysticism. In sentimental contexts,
she generates lines of wicked ambition."
The New York Times
'Olympic Girls Solo' will be released on Friday 27th
September through Milk! Records, Ba Da Bing Records,
and Marathon Artists. You can listen to the first single
from the album, "One Million Flowers", HERE.
Hollie will be touring the UK & Europe to perform
these solo works during October and November. Tour dates
A warm swell of ambient sound precedes an arpeggiated
rhythmic riff that springs into flight, exuberant and
joyful. Sparkling electric guitar punctuates the relentless
thrum of Hollie Fullbrook's acoustic, as the potent
lyricism she is known for cuts searingly through the
noise - "Stirring, shaken, all of us waking under
the same cover of sky".
And so begins 'Olympic Girls', the title track of the
third long-player from Tiny Ruins. Set for release on
1 February 2019, the group's hotly anticipated next
offering is replete with vital lyricism and galvanising
"I've heard Olympic Girls , and I had to pick my
jaw up off the floor", wrote Grant Smithies. "Clustered
around more introspective passages typical of confessional
singer-songwriters are gnarlier phrases that give her
work its buzzy voltage: arresting visual images, weird
associations, daisy-chains of telling detail."
Building on the sparse minimalism and mesmerising songwriting
of earlier releases, Olympic Girls comprises a taut
and agile quiver of songs, dancing with explorative
instrumentation and a pop sensibility that springs with
The album was recorded during several intense weekends
spanning many months in producer Tom Healy's small Paquin
Studio, nestled inside The Lab in Auckland's Mt. Eden.
With Healy playing electric guitar in the band since
2014, the tracking room doubles as a practice space
for Tiny Ruins and other local bands, and is the same
studio in which they recorded 2014's Brightly Painted
One, for which Healy was nominated for Producer of the
Year at the New Zealand Music Awards.
"Where that album was condensed into two weeks
of recording, with Olympic Girls we took our time. I
would bring new songs to the band as I wrote them, and
we would experiment with the arrangements over maybe
a few days, and then quite soon after would start recording",
says Fullbrook. "It was about building something
quite epic over a long stretch of time that didn't fall
victim to overplaying or overworking. Once recorded,
we wouldn't listen to the track for months, we'd just
move onto the next one. It was only at the very end
that Tom opened the vault. Not being in a flash studio
with the clock ticking was an enormous luxury."
With Fullbrook at the helm and Healy producing, longtime
bassist Cass Basil and drummer Alex Freer were vital
sounding boards & leant their own creative flourishes
toward an overall sound of confident exuberance, marrying
the intricately woven poetics of Leonard Cohen, the
shimmering dream-pop landscapes of Beach House or Mazzy
Star, and the off-kilter experimental pop of Broadcast
or John Cale.
The result is an expansive series of delightfully bold
arrangements - the sound of a band so fluid, yet grounded;
the hard-won trust and ease that comes with long months
of touring. The burden of it taking so long was also
its blessing, with no filler seeping through the bricks,
nor beams blocking out the spaces. As Fullbrook says,
quoting the lyrics of the somewhat sinister 'School
of Design', "it was time to bust through the ceiling".
Exhilaration persists throughout the record, as Fullbrook
commands a series of songs marrying the ordinary with
the outlandish, the metaphysical with the mundane. Varied
strands of poetic imagery expound on the abstract possibilities
of potential; spaces both finite and boundless, and
how one might push into the other. "Fullbrook articulates
a hunger for freedom and agency", said Stereogum,
"but speaks from within the confines of a cynical,
jagged awareness of the world, whiplashing back and
forth between the raw intimacy of someone like Olsen
or Van Etten, and a kind of detached, prophetic folk-bard
'How much would you be willing to give?' Fullbrook asks
point-blank in first single "How Much", ahead
of woozily discordant strings and a stomping neo-psychedelic
rhythm. The lyric brims with imagery of supermarket
breakdowns, lilos, snarks and silos while an anthemic
guitar hook soars throughout. Not content to leave the
song at a stable conclusion; a thumping 'I am the Walrus'-esque
bass outro by longtime bandmate Cass Basil propels the
single boomerang-style back to a space of adroit experimentation.
The album is a sophisticated ode to the possibilities
of freedom, its title track replete with rich imagery
of figure skaters, prison cells and stuccoed motels.
Glittering with promise, it's an urgent challenge to
push further, to look harder - as the chorus of second
single, the eponymous Olympic Girls dictates, "We
were only inches away / still have a long, long way
Shimmering with ebullient echoes, third single 'Holograms'
embodies its own words, "In deepest water / There's
a line of silver". Hovering in the space between
luminescent dream-pop and sedate psychedelia, rich layers
of chorus and delay provide a sumptuous textural sea-bed
for Hollie Fullbrook's musings on holographic dancefloors
("It's how we dance in the future With big,
soft, heavy metal eyes"), rising sea levels and
human demise ("Our lungs are sponges / They're
gonna wipe us out"). Softly bubbling electric guitars
evoke a mood both space-bound and sunken, while the
chorus's cascading bass-line spurs on a shuffle beat
that creatures of any realm would find hard to resist.
The stretchy, shoegazing outro fills the ears with reverb
while a monotonous bass groove hums as a bubbling anchor
- a song suspended in space and time.
Some of the album's most beautiful moments are found
in the surrounding tracks to the more anthemic singles
- from the incandescent, tripping heartbreak of 'Sparklers',
the captivating baroque hooks of Kore Waits in the Underworld,
to the glittering chorus of One Million Flowers, every
moment is lined with an urgent spell. Finally, in the
album closer, 'Cold Enough to Climb', Fullbrook hones
in on the central idea, of pressing on towards a kind
of freedom, however existential or illusory - "we
build towns out of ink, we realise pixelated towers,
but to think the world inside is just beyond our powers".