Sweet little lies
Vicki Anderson talks to Harley Williams of The Tiny Lies about recording at Antonio Hall and earthquake-inspired songs.
Christchurch "alt-folk-noir" duo The Tiny Lies - Charlotte Ivey and Harley Williams - have produced a debut album of well-crafted songs with sweet harmonies.
This week The Oaks They Will Bow sits at No. 13 on the New Zealand album charts, nestled behind Shapeshifter's Delta and ahead of Kimbra's Vows.
Lyttelton-based The Tiny Lies have been on the road this month, taking the port's wandering troubadour Delaney Davidson with them.
They return to one of Otautahi's best known and iconic music venues, nestled high above the port of Lyttelton, The Wunderbar, to play two shows last night and today.
"The bulk of our audience come from Christchurch. We've tried to make it more of a special experience by doing two shows. Tonight we are on later and, to acknowledge the broad range of our audience who maybe don't want to see a band too late, on Saturday night we play first," Williams says.
First single Bag of Bones is the album standout. Hauntingly lovely, it beautifully showcases the range of Ivey's angel-falling- to-Earth vocals. By contrast Williams' vocals are voodoo dark. It's an appealing push-me pull-me combination that has a hypnotic effect.
Eagle-eyed viewers might notice that the video for Bag of Bones was shot at Christchurch's Antonio Hall.
"I'm a video editor by trade," Williams explains. "It was interesting to record in Antonio Hall, it's quite a crazy place. Eclectic furniture and it's really cold and really dirty. We were done really quickly."
Elsewhere on the album reverential rustles, plinks and the merest wail of lap steel say a lot in an elegantly understated and slightly dark fashion.
The Walls Came Down, co-written by the pair, is inspired by both the Christchurch earthquakes and wider themes of relationships, while album title The Oaks They Will Bow, written by Ivey, relates to the "ego of mankind".
"The ego of the human race in general expects everything to bow down before them on a whim," Williams says.
Album guests include the inimitable Shane Bolingford on drums; Delaney Davidson on lap steel, electric guitar and trombone; Ben Woolley on bass guitar; Anita Clark on violin, viola; John Egenes, pedal steel; Darren Pickering on organ and Alex van den Broek on trumpet.
For this tour The Tiny Lies are joined by Delaney Davidson, Ben Woolley, Anita Clark and Joe McCallum and Williams says having a band to represent whas was orchestrated and arranged on the album is fulfilling.
Recorded by Ben Edwards of the cedar-filled Sitting Room, the album is released via his label, Lyttelton Records. Additional recording was done at Ivey's house, Williams' workplace and in the basement of the Wunderbar.
"That was fun. Shane did the drum parts in the Wunderbar basement while we were waiting for the Sitting Room to open."
The Tiny Lies album release party: tonight at the Wunderbar. Doors open 9pm. The Tiny Lies and band from 9.30pm. Delaney Davidson and band from 10.30pm. $20 on door or $15 pre-sales from utr.co.nz