Album Review

Some Were Meant For Sea

Some Were Meant For Sea

by Tiny Ruins

8.5 / 10
20th September 2011

Reviewed by Imogen Reid

In the middle of 2009, I went to the Wine Cellar to see a gig that included a one-woman act called Tiny Ruins. Apart from about five other people, the venue was practically empty. This young woman was Hollie Fullbrook who then disappeared off the kiwi radar in 2010 only to reappear this year bigger than I had expected. I couldn’t get into the Wine Cellar when she played this year but managed to squeeze myself into the Lucha Lounge a week later to see the act, meet the lady, buy the t-shirt (literally) and the album too.

Fullbrook will charm you with her predominantly sleepy music. Her almost-lazy voice with its clear New Zealand accent combined with her distinctive guitar playing will entice you to get comfy and simply listen. But these songs are not lullabies, some are more up-beat, such as the flirtatious ‘You’ve got the kind of nerve I like’ and the ‘Death of a Russian’ which has a catchy twang to it. Whilst equally as dept on the piano, take the slow and ambient ‘Pigeon knows’ for example, her main talent is definitely her handy guitar work and her penchant for writing mesmerising lyrics.

Fullbrook does not set out to overwhelm or impress but simply to convey sincerity in her feelings and to share some of her in-depth knowledge with the listener. She has that rare ability to write a song about true love without saying the word ‘love’ or referring to any cliché commonly used in a love song. Rather, she focuses on situations she has been in, the best example being her well-known hit ‘Little Notes’, but also the fast-paced ‘Running through the night’ and the strange ‘Cat in the Hallway’. The sentences string together flashes of images which are her personal experiences, and there is refreshing familiarity with at least some of what she has to say. But that’s not what the listener focuses on when first hearing these tunes. It’s the way she sings a certain sentence, or the way the melody changes, or the perfect progression of chords. “For me, it’s not over... Breakfast, but in the hallway.’

However, some of the more interesting songs are away from love and just about her individual interests. ‘Death of a Russian’ and ‘Priest with Balloons’ are two she is particularly proud of, with the later song cleverly conjuring up images of a better world whilst also alluding to an event that actually took place. Every song on this album is a pleasure to hear and ultimately relaxing. It’s practically therapy.

Unless you have a severe cynical streak, it’s hard not to fall just a bit in love with Hollie Fullbrook and her music once you’ve heard the whole album. I’m proud to hear this first album and see her in person as it’s clear she will have a stunning musical career ahead of her. This kind of talent is one in a million.

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