50 years after Vashti Bunyan looked out on a bay and saw only simple quietude, Tiny Ruins sees the grittier reality of such a scene on “Dorothy Bay”.
The second single from the indie folk band’s newly announced fourth studio album, Ceremony, thoughtfully contends with the furious swirling emotions that accompany the recovery from personal loss. “You carry on / the tide is a radar / breathing on / like it or not / picks you up with her signal / just as before / there’s a strong pull harbour-way,” the band’s leader, Hollie Fullbrook, sings with an accepting sigh.
According to the press release, Ceremony is an epic saga set on the shores of Manukau Harbour, so it’s fitting that the accompanying music video for “Dorothy Bay” (no such place seems to exist in those parts) takes place at the Harbour’s murky Southern Headland.
Directed by Alexander Gandar, the dreamlike sequence took to Tiny Ruins and the crew two days to fully capture the landscape’s true beauty. The video is a wonderful companion piece to the gravelly and earthy “Dorothy Bay”, showcasing the Harbour’s striking features: a domineering lighthouse surveys gorgeously green fields, psychedelic pink clusters of trees, and, for now, simmering blue waters.
“It’s beautiful but also muddy, dirty and neglected. It’s a real meeting of nature and humanity,” Fullbrook says of the area, where she would often walk with her two dogs as she sought inspiration for Tiny Ruins’ new album.
Also fittingly, Tiny Ruins’ song is more muscular and maximal in its presentation, a purposeful rhythmic touch that enhances the hushed folk of previous offerings (something Fullbrook also often shared with the minimally beautiful music of Bunyan).
“Dorothy Bay” follows the stiller “The Crab/Wednesday”, but the contrasting songs offer much hope for Tiny Ruins’ full release in April. Fullbrook certainly had a lot on her mind while writing the follow-up to 2019’s Olympic Girls: “Ceremony goes deep into all the old and murky mysteries of what it means to be human – and sometimes it nearly goes under. Yet these songs also show how you can find the strength to swim from the shipwreck, push through the silt, surface into another new morning. Another new chance,” the press release explains.