On Tuesday night I dropped by The Vanguard to interview Bic Runga - our chat will appear on another website shortly - and catch her album showcase. It was a big deal for me because I've loved New Zealand's finest export since high school. I've probably played her 2002 triumph Beautiful Collision from beginning to end more often than any other record. With the possible exception of 4. Anyway, Bic is even lovelier than I imagined and the six-year holiday she took between albums hasn't affected her exquisite voice in the slightest.
I have to admit that Belle took me a while to get into. It's probably a little too sophisticated and mature for my ears but hearing a selection of tracks live helped me put it into perspective and I suspect it will turn out to be a massive grower. The 36-year-old songbird belted out the album's first two singles - I really love "Tiny Little Piece Of My Heart" (below) - but the highlight for me was hearing "Sway" again. That gem hasn't aged a day and brings back a million different memories. Bic only performed five songs but her powerful pipes and breathtaking musicianship (she played a different instrument for each number) has left me salivating for her upcoming tour.
Belle is in stores now and is an absolute treat for anyone that likes intricate, emotion-driven pop like Adele, Birdy or Lana Del Rey.