Since its star moment as the backdrop for the Lord of the Rings films, New Zealand has garnered lots of press for all the pretty it has to offer. Someone should tell the country to brace itself for a lot more attention in the coming years, as we predict a tsunami of international ink to be spilled over the beauty of Tiny Ruins. A sonic distillation of grey oceanscapes, low-hanging clouds and emotions that move slowly enough to gather moss, this young trio delivers a punch with a velvet glove.
Formed as a solo project in 2009 by songwriter Hollie Fullbrook, the band now includes bassist Cass Basil and drummer Alexander Freer. Ethereal, almost-not-there guitar, subtle percussion and fleeting drones and breaths of piano frame the soundtrack to a million gloomy Sundays in a way that's somehow simultaneously soothing, haunting and insistent. Lingering in a time-stopped world that bridges folk-blues and 4AD dream-pop, Fulbrook's voice is the fulcrum of this remarkable band; somewhere between Hope Sandoval and Karen Dalton, her magnificent instrument hangs in a space of its own, commands the listener's full attention, and leaves in its wake a subtle devastation, a tiny ruin.