A rare blend of eloquent lyrical craft and explorative musicianship, the songs of Tiny Ruins have been treasured by crowds and critics for over a decade. Via an eclectic raft of influences, the musical world of Hollie Fullbrook and band spans delicate folk, lustrous dream pop and ebullient psychedelia.
Born in Bristol and raised in West Auckland, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Fullbrook's debut LP Some Were Meant For Sea (2011) features her alone, and was quickly celebrated by radio playlists and blogs worldwide. The album’s clutch of “gorgeous vignettes” (BBC) put the artist on the map, and she took to the road from her home in New Zealand to tour extensively through the UK, Europe and North America – often accompanied by her friend Cass Basil on bass.
Following the tape-recorded EP Haunts (2013), produced by Jon Pearce (The Beths), and with the addition of drummer Alex Freer, the then-trio began work on second album Brightly Painted One with producer Tom Healy, who later joined the band on electric guitar. Brightly Painted One (2014) was championed by the New York Times, NPR and David Lynch, & won Best Alternative Album at the New Zealand Music Awards - “…an album of quiet, devastating beauty,” wrote Pop Matters.
“...an album that both bruises the heart and lifts the soul...songwriting that demonstrates a novelist’s eye for detail.”
— Uncut review of 'Brightly Painted One'
In between touring, Fullbrook became a sought after collaborator. A New York recording session culminated in the EP Hurtling Through (2015) with indie-rock legend Hamish Kilgour (The Clean), while single Dream Wave (2016) was recorded and produced by award-winning cult filmmaker and musician David Lynch -
“A tranquil, pared-back track [with] a gradually rising sense of the macabre… very special indeed.”
— The Line of Best Fit
Building on the sparse minimalism and intricate songwriting of earlier releases, the band’s third album Olympic Girls comprises a taut and agile quiver of songs, dancing with explorative instrumentation and a pop sensibility that springs with life.
“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 propels the track boomerang-style back to a space of adroit experimentation.
“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.”
See Tour Dates.
MOJO Review of Olympic Girls - ★★★★
UNCUT Review of Olympic Girls - 8/10
"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
"An album confident in its vulnerability and
luxuriating in a bigger sound." Loud & Quiet Review of Olympic Girls - 8/10
"… songs that change sound and mood during their duration, never meandering and always captivating.” BUST Review of Olympic Girls - 5/5
“… a deeper listen to these eleven tracks exposes a breadth of influences that spans decades.”
- The Wire Review of Olympic Girls
“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
“Fullbrook’s hushed yet forceful songs, packed with obsessives and resilient loners, demand your full attention.”
— Q Magazine