Words by LAUREN WILLIAMS

Sounds like: The gentle rawness of Laura Marling’s vocals with a folk-ballad style reminiscent of Nick Drake.

Smack-bang in the middle of the Australian tour of their second album Brightly Painted One, Tiny Ruins brought their dreamy folk melodies to Sydney’s Goodgod Small Club.

Six-piece Shining Bird absorbed the first half-hour with their unique blend of indie-pop. Building from drawn-out introductions, they layered baritone melodies with tiered harmonies, shimmering synth and epic, open guitar chords that reverberated through the floor and up our spines.

Beginning as Hollie Fullbrook’s solo project in 2009, Tiny Ruins have since developed into a three-piece with bassist/vocalist Cass Basil and drummer Alexander Freer. While Fullbrook’s soft, soulful voice captivated the crowd instantaneously, malleted percussion and humming basslines filled out the low-end sound, adding depth to her vocals and lightly plucked acoustic guitar.

Although full, the room was comfortable, with a reserved crowd standing attentive throughout the intimate set. The occasional loud talker and clatter of glass was unusually audible within a hushed Goodgod.

While the songs were delivered in much the same manner as their recordings, Tiny Ruins’ live performance shone light on a rawness and sensitivity that is far more subtle in the albums. Perhaps it was because Fullbrook’s near-flawless vocal delivery sounded effortless enough to have us questioning whether this was how she generally conversed. Her occasional banter reminded us that rather, this is just one incredibly talented singer. Fullbrook’s jokes and anecdotes lifted the energy when the variation between songs was somewhat lacking, with many following a similar folk-ballad arrangement. However, a cover of 1920s ‘Rolling Mill Blues’ was a welcome deviation into a more bluesy sound.

With the crowd cheering “More!” Tiny Ruins closed with a throwback to their first album, performing ‘Old as the Hills’ as a last lilting lullaby.

3.5/5