Like for many of my close friends, the discovery of Tiny Moving Parts in early 2017 was a revelation. For a lot of us, the bands’ previous album Celebrate boasted tracks that found their way into our most listened to songs of the year. I was blown away. I am confident in saying that Celebrate is destined to be one of my all-time favourite albums. The band are notorious for their energetic, infectious music which can peak and trough at any moment. Listening to this band puts you on the edge of your seat, even pushing you off it at times. The mid-west trio have found their niche in producing loud and fast, intricately crafted masterpieces. I may have only been aware of the band for a little under a year but the release of their latest effort, Swell, feels long overdue. I think it is fair to say that I have a Tiny Moving Parts addiction, I need my next hit.
Lead single, Caution, was an early indication that the band were onto something special with their latest venture. In my opinion, it works perfectly as a single, showcasing the phenomenal musicianship of guitar-decimator and vocalist Dylan Mattheisen and tight rhythmic additions from the Chevalier brothers on bass and drums. It is exciting, aggressive and contagious. Although it came about rather out of the blue, it was a fantastic surprise. With a breakdown that demonstrates the delicate vocal capabilities of Mattheisen, the song swings wonderfully into its crescendo. It may have been around for almost 2 months now, but I struggle to think of a day that has passed where I have been able to resist humming or singing along to it in my head.
The opening of Caution almost throws you off guard. It starts in an uncharacteristically slow manner. However, I was happy to understand that this was not to be a motif throughout the album. The opening track, Applause, commences with around 10 seconds of fruitful riffage. Doing nothing more than teasing the listener. Now I was ready, salivating. The vocals make themselves known, thrown together with crashing drums and we are launched into a song of incredible vigour. For a more detailed breakdown of the song you can catch it here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2018/01/04/tiny-moving-parts-applause/. Applause is catchy, but more importantly, it lets you know that you are not in for a relaxing listen.
Smooth It Out is up next and with it comes huge pressure to deliver. The song opens in a relatively upbeat manner, which falls into a simple sounding verse (by the standards of TMP). However, the lead riff develops throughout the opening and becomes more prominent as the song progresses. The lyrics echo that “we cough, we cough, we cough”, highlighting the pain the band are trying to break through with their latest creation. The breakdown is measured, layers upon layers of vocals and instrumental textures accumulate and bring the song to a wholesome conclusion. Ending with a light scream from the vocalist, the song implies further that the energy is not going to let up.
Feel Alive confirms this. Colourful lyrics are paired wonderfully delicate musicianship. The chorus is unrelenting, one that will stick in your head for sure. Mattheisen cries that he wishes to “fade away like smoke off cigarettes” pleading that at some point he will “feel alive”. The emotion in the lyrics is mirrored wonderfully into sonic form. You have to hear this one for the guitar technique alone. It feels as though when listening to parts of this track you are looking through a kaleidoscope of soundscapes. It is almost impossible to describe, be sure to check it out. The song concludes with a collision of sounds which come to a close with the solitary voice of the bands guest female vocalist. She features on a handful of songs across their discography and does so impeccably. Adding another layer to a band with so many that they might as well be an onion at this point.
Wildfire is another fantastic song, there is a strong argument that every song on this album could be a single. This track is a roller-coaster of rhythm and texture. Coming to a crunchy conclusion, you cannot help but nod your head along. The song put a smile on my face, mainly because of the prospect of seeing this band live again. I can see this being included in their live set. I can’t wait to be in a room with people who share my love for these guys.
Whale Watching opens with a question, asking “how am I supposed to feel?” – something I ask myself continuously when listening to the band. The drums are in charge of this one, smattering the song with a tenacity that is unrivalled to anything I have listened to in a while. The lyrics here feel pained and I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is my takeaway track from the album. It is catchy at the right moments and will blow your hair back in the parts you don’t find yourself singing-a-long to. It’s Cold Tonight sounds as if it could be lifted straight from Celebrate. It starts slow, gets fast, fun and fruity. Every part of the Tiny Moving Parts blueprint. I have never found myself singing the words “I am meaningless” whilst being so happy before. The image of “flipping nickels and dimes” has refused to leave my head, something about this track is captivating.
The bassline of Malfunction gives the opening of this track a very positive spin, despite its title. Little flurries of tapping here and there break up an infectious melody. “Breath in, blow out” regulates the song between the bustles of audible explosions. The breakdown is dainty to start with but don’t be fooled. Soon enough it explodes in a typical fashion. Another personal favourite, but then again so is every track. Wishbone references the band’s beloved Dakota, the subject of a lot of their music. This song is a fun ditty, it feels very anthemic in the grand scheme of the album. I like the change of pace, it reinforces the point that this band are good at a little bit of everything. After all, the mid-west has “blessed [them] with good friends”.
Warm Hand Splash is the perfect crescendo to the album. It is incredible. There is something marvellous about the rhythm of the song. I felt like nodding my head was not enough, instead I chose to alternatively swagger each shoulder forwards to this one. The vocals in the chorus are joined by a choir of support, adding yet another dynamic to the band. Once again, the breakdown gives us a window into the mid-west with a funky riff, accompanied by some swanky brass. The conclusion of the album summarises the band perfectly. Aggression, incredible musicianship and most importantly finding positivity in the negative.
Lyrically, the band fluctuate from delicate craftsmanship to utter confusion, but this is what I want when I listen to Tiny Moving Parts. I want an explosion of confusion, musical genius and excitement. I love listening to music that leaves me with no idea of what has happened, how we got to where we are or where we are getting taken. The band do this better than anyone else and yet, I always find myself singing along. The masters of musical journey. Bravo. I am blown away, it appears that the band have produced another album of the same calibre as Celebrate. I know it is early to say, but we may have an album of the year on our hands. This album is a sum of its parts, each of them being incredibly well crafted.
I send applause from my heart strings to you, take a bow Tiny Moving Parts.