Well – I got a bit of flack here and there in the weekend when on my Really Real Review press junket for my dissing of The Clean in a previous review. “How could you!” they said. “David Kilgour is a national treasure!” they said. “The Clean invented music and BIC biro pens!” they said. “Maybe it’s a bit harsh”, they said. “I like The Clean and this is pretty good” they also said – the mysterious ‘they’ with so many opinions. The worst is the thing he put out with Sam Hunt, because that’s two overrated NZ ‘icons’, and Sam Hunt is worse – leery and Speights-swilling and not a very good poet. Jeez, make an album with that Booker person – the one I pretend to have read but haven’t because I’m too busy with eyebrow threading appointments etc. Jeez, make an album with CK Stead.
I’ve always liked Hamish, though. Hamish posts good things on facebook – weird youtube videos of good music with a great deal of consistency and seems less ‘legend’-like, less living on the shattered dreams of Flying Nun. And yeah – he’s a good drummer. Doesn’t show off. Sympathetic. I like Tiny Ruins/Hollie Fullbrook, too – I have talked your ear off about how NZ folk is mostly really boring – aesthetically pleasing and hits all the right buzz-notes but lacks any heart, the lyrics have all the right words but don’t sink beneath the surface. Tiny Ruins doesn’t work in this tradition,
– say the tradition of Anthonie Tonnonand co, if you want specifics (has anyone noticed how model-heavy his videos are? ( What about REAL PEOPLE am I right? Has Dove not taught us anything??). If anything she’s a inheritor to the word-heavy and pathos-heavy tradition Nina Nastasia is so good at, with sly phrasing – the downward when she sings ‘hurtling through/this dark space’ which actually place her straight in the tradition of Schubert, who’s almost as good as Tay Tay. Consider the sighs implicit in ‘Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel’. Of course, you know – German and classical, yet the feeling is retained – this one of resignation coupled with a tiny thimble-full of hope. It’s uncommonly beautiful. It feels like prose. Kilgour’s drumming is subtle and punctuates Fullbrook’s voice without declaring its presence at all – neither does the slide guitar which soars overtop, which is exactly how it should be: even though this is quite a dense track – Lanois-like even; full of swampy fullness – New Orleans ha, which only becomes apparent on second or third listen. It’s swampy but doesn’t swamp it (sorry – the bad jokes I delete from here in the course of editing are a lot, I promise). It’s wistful. It feels like The Perfect Cup Of Tea – or how Faulkner is on a good day. Fullbrook’s guitar is the most prominent instrument – again I can’t stray away from my Nina Nastasia albums (say ‘Dogs’ or ‘You Follow Me’ – also made in collaboration with a drummer, the great Jim White). It sounds hollow and rhythmic and somehow open – as if it as a wide field for the rest of the song to sit upon. Oh, and there’s bells, too – you’ll notice those on the 8th listen. A+