The third album from Tiny Ruins is mostly quiet, subtly wistful and hauntingly dreamy. It was also initially underwhelming. Seemingly, content to be left alone to do its thing in the background while I went about my business. I was often surprised to realise it'd finished.
Aside from the hazily lovely single Holograms the rest of the songs initially appeared unfazed as to whether I distinguished between them or not.
This is not to say that they all melded into one or all sound the same. They didn't and they most certainly don't. The band find ample room to manoeuvre, experiment and lay ornate decoration within the folk-tinged blueprints of Hollie Fullbrook's deceptively complex songs. It's more that none initially shouted for attention with a catchy hook, say, or an easily accessible groove to latch on to.
Instead, random phrases would bubble up with each play; "I only wrote it to the wind", or "On a Lilo reading your letters", or "I was killing time".
So I'd spin it again. And again. And again. And even now I can't for the life of me hum you a single melody from the record but I can say that Olympic Girls has fast become one of my favourite releases so far this year.
It's a constantly rewarding listen that reveals more each time I play it; a fleeting bass solo, a male harmony drowning deep in the mix, an odd percussion augmentation, some eerie sound effects, a one-off vocal tic from Fullbrook that can instantly channel anyone from Bob Dylan to Lorde in a flash, or a snazzily abrupt musical switch-up that catches you off guard but still somehow sounds so right.
There's a lot going on is what I'm saying. And that's without mentioning the mellotron, Hammonds or flutes that appear... The production here is superb, as full of surprise and imagination as the arrangements themselves.
But it's knowing that even now after countless plays there's still much to unravel, to discover, to delight in, is what keeps me coming back. Olympic Girls truly is a gold medal record.
Artist: Tiny Ruins
Album: Olympic Girls
Label: Milk! Records
Verdict: A gold-medal record.