Over the years Hannah McPhillimy has shown herself to be one of most gifted songwriters in Northern Ireland. This year’s Wind Machine EP has furthered that cause considerably. While live shows often find McPhillimy alone behind her piano, perhaps backed by some cello, it’s on her releases where she can really spread her wings with extra instrumentation. Her latest single ‘Ruins’ is a perfect example, blending jazz, folk and even classical into one.
McPhillimy’s exceptional songwriting ability is very much evident here, with an increased and ambitious sonic palette. Rhodes piano gives way to a more traditional piano sound before the track builds to a grand finish with big strings and percussion. Overlaying all of this of course is McPhillimy’s vocals, which traverse the boundaries between mellow, and soulful and impassioned by the end of the track’s movements.
Lyrically McPhillimy deals with faith, sadness and fragility which is captured by the video, from Cinematic Tide. It is atmospheric, with scenic shots of the songwriter traversing the woods and tying McPhillimy’s lyrics of ‘come any closer and you’ll topple me’, to an increasingly tense tower of Jenga game between two friends.