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The very fact that Tiny Ruins are signed to Bella Union should be enough to provide some indication as to the quality of their output; Simon Raymonde's label has long had scant regard for mediocrity. They began as the solo project of Hollie Fullbrook, who dealt primarily in emotional truths on their first LP, Some Were Meant for Sea; in the intervening three years, they've toured the world with the likes of Beach House, Joanna Newsom and Fleet Foxes. Putting aside their refusal to trade their New Zealand home for somewhere more industry-centric, there's no convincing way in which Fullbrook could argue that Tiny Ruins is a low-key bedroom venture anymore; they're a fully-fledged band now, and the need for Brightly Painted One to reflect that is obvious.

The core of the record, though, remains Fullbrook's songwriting; she continues to mine poetry from the minutiae of her everyday life. On opener 'Me at the Museum, You in the Wintergardens', she's framing a relationship - and the perceived fragility of its future - in terms of apparently dead-end jobs; 'She'll Be Coming 'Round', meanwhile, eschews and embraces metaphor in equal measure. Inspired by a mountain walk, the track sees her first paint a straightforward picture of her surroundings before attempting to harness it for more abstract purposes; it's an interesting, unusual approach that sets her apart from many of her contemporaries.

Sonically speaking, Brightly Painted One isn't a huge leap forwards from Some Were Meant for Sea; in fact, first impressions suggest that it follows a very similar tack. The basic instrumental palette is minimal throughout - unintrusive percussion, serene guitars - with Fullbrook consistently front and centre. With repeat listens, though, subtle progressions begin to make themselves apparent; the crucial development on this record is the production, with everything sounding as invitingly warm as you wished their frustratingly stiff debut had. It lends the emotive quality of Fullbrook's lyrics considerable heft, as do the clever little flourishes that gradually work themselves in; foreboding drums on 'Reasonable Man' and 'Ballad of the Hanging Parcel', for instance, or the subtle sprinkling of brass here and there. The restraint shown with strings is admirable, too, making them all the more powerful on closer 'White Sheet Lightning'.

Perhaps the biggest limitation that Tiny Ruins face is that - bearing in mind that the market for soft, confessional acoustic fare is always saturated - Fullbrook's voice is completely unremarkable. It's by no means unpleasant, but she doesn't possess, say, the idiosyncracies of Joanna Newsom, or the stylistic range of Laura Marling. She's pretty one-dimensional, adhering strictly to a near-whispered delivery, and over the course of a full-length, that wears away at her ability to evoke an emotional response from the listener - no matter how lovely the lyrics.

It's encouraging that there are some clear signs of expansion on Brightly Painted One, but the question now is whether Tiny Ruins really have anywhere else to go. Fullbrook's intelligent writing is the key to the band's future - it's far and away their most potent weapon - but I can't help but feel it merits a little more sonic ambition; there's a couple of points at which the pared-back nature of the instrumental approach threatens to descend into monotony - something that wouldn't be very becoming of either band or label.

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