15 Sep 2019

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Little Ripples - Album Review: Rise and Fall

30 Jun 2019 // A review by Jacinda Selman

Little Ripples, a Northland-based acoustic act, have been busy touring their unique brand of child-centred family folk, bringing their first album to many new fans, and becoming something of a staple for the 95bFM kids show. Their relaxed vibe and acoustic tones immediately conjure feelings of a quiet Sunday at home.

Their sophomore album Rise and Fall came about due to a departure; their long-time collaborator and band mate Erin Cole-Baker was moving to America. Determined to capture some of their sound as a trio, Little Ripples arranged an impromptu recording session to get down a handful of tracks before Cole-Baker’s leaving date. After a few days in the studio, and a flurry of passionate performances, Little Ripples found themselves with a complete second album ready for release. In a headrush from those events and pushing forward for a prompt release, singer Emily Benge described the recording of this album as her “birth [as] as a songwriter”.

Featuring many of the same themes as their first album; Rise and Fall is designed to support children in coming to terms with their place in the world, society, and within the family. Songs like In the Kitchen, Read to Me, and Beautiful Mind describe simple home-life pleasures. Baby Boy and Don’t Grow Up Too Soon speak to the timeless and universal experience of mothers, watching their children grow, and becoming their own people. Sam and Emily Benge are both educators, and this comes through on their album. All of these songs would work beautifully in a classroom environment, making this album an excellent teacher resource for an ECE, playcentre, or primary class. Let it Flow and Rise and Fall in particular would be excellent tools for supporting mindfulness in children.

Sonically, the album is beautifully natural, and laden with hypnotic harmonies. The ukulele, guitar, and double bass provide a warmth and fullness of tone. The harmonium creates an atmosphere of serenity and organic texture. A far-cry from the jarring experience many children's albums provide, Rise and Fall is a balm for the soul. For those times when the world seems over-stimulating and hyperactive, this album offers a sanctuary from the intensity of modern life.

Rise and Fall is soon to be released, mid-August 2019.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

Other Reviews By Jacinda Selman

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Dylan Storey has earned himself a strong reputation playing with and alongside a number of high profile Auckland fixtures including Bond Street Bridge, The Miltones, and The Bads. His most recent EP Phobos and Deimos adds to an already large body of well-crafted songs, mostly accompanied by a band and presented in an appealingly under-produced fashion.
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Katie Thompson has just released her second single from her upcoming album, Bittersweet. After reviewing the first single, I was intrigued by the potential of the album, which explored a more developed and introspective sound than her past material.
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