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Tiny Moving Parts – Swell

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Despite being bruised, stitched, and severed, the hand that adorns the cover of Tiny Moving Parts’ fourth LP, Swell, is still just trying to hang loose. That image is probably the most accurate summary of the Minnesota trio’s music. After garnering a dedicated fanbase with their first two releases, the band received more attention with their very solid 2016 album, Celebrate. Two years later, Tiny Moving Parts is back with their most consistent work yet, a sizzling ten track album that flawlessly blends the ethos of midwest emo with the energy of contemporary pop-punk.

    Swell is frenetic from the very start, as opener “Applause” explodes behind Dylan Mattheisen’s charging, intricate riffs. Big choruses and soaring bridges burst throughout with contagious energy, with the occasional synthesizer or trombone thrown in the background for a little extra punch. It’s reminiscent of Tell All Your Friends – those dramatic moments emphasized by synth flourishes and sleek keyboard melodies (the urgent “Smooth It Out” and the bombastic “Whale Watching” are prime examples). First single “Caution” is dynamic in a way that recollects memories of the band’s first album, while the blistering “Malfunction” features some of Mattheisen’s best tapping to date.

    In fact, his guitar work is thoughtful on each track – no wasted movements – pulsating seamlessly with backbone of the record, the brotherly rhythm section of Matthew and Billy Chevalier (bassist and drummer, respectively). Billy turns in some of the best drumming you’ll hear in 2018, the frantic pace providing Swell with that extra gusto some of these second-wave emo albums are missing – enabling Tiny Moving Parts to stand apart from some of the meandering Hotelier-wannabes that’ve popped up in recent years.

    Thematically, Swell is a journey towards being the best person you can possibly be, a struggle Mattheisen acutely encapsulates throughout the record. There are flashes where Mattheisen is all about seizing the day, and then there are the instances of regret and failure – with both feelings appearing simultaneously at times. On the bittersweet “Wildfire,” Mattheisen goes from bold confidence (“Someday we’re all going to die/But not tonight!”) to the devastating idea that his partner wishes he was no more (“I think you wish I wasn’t around anymore/I think you wish I passed in a crash of some sort.”). Swell is littered with silver linings, introspection, and the every day triumphs and sorrows within everyday relationships. Those feelings are still presented in a way that’s life affirming instead of being drowned out by overwhelming sadness, the ebb and flow of “It’s Too Cold Tonight” portraying these very conflicts.

    It all comes to head on the emotionally charged closer, “Warm Hand Splash,” a track balancing between strength and fragility in which Mattheisen – envisioning himself as the trash that lines the bottom of a wishing well – pleads for one more chance, one more time to get it right. It’s a flurry of blind optimism before realizing that that prospect has passed by, as a somber trombone plays the album out.

    Ultimately Swell is about chasing your bliss regardless of what’s standing in the way. The penultimate track “Wishbone” has Mattheisen basically screaming the album’s manifesto (“May your brain cells swell/with love, love, love”) – a cry that, despite whatever obstacle presents itself, they’ll always hope for the best.

    DeRRek and Kaduck like this.
  2. thenewmatthewperry

    performative angry black man Prestigious

    Tremendous review! You captured feelings I couldn't quite put my finger on.

    I agree wholeheartedly about Billy's drumming, it really punctuates the best moments on the album!
    Drew Beringer likes this.
  3. Kaduck


    Well written review! I tend to check out most of the reviews you guys do here on the site, and I’ve found some really good stuff. This is my first time listening to these guys, only 5 tracks into Swell right now, and I am absolutely loving this. Thanks so much for the review and pointing me in these guys direction.
    Drew Beringer and morken like this.
  4. Honeymagnolia

    Regular Supporter

    Love this album.

    Applause may be my song of the year so far.
  5. SmithBerryCrunch

    Trusted Prestigious

    This album is so damn good. Everyone needs to check this out.
    thenewmatthewperry likes this.
  6. thenewmatthewperry

    performative angry black man Prestigious

    Dan O'Neill, Lucas27 and chewbacca110 like this.
  7. suicidesaints

    Trusted Prestigious

    Had never heard this band before, only saw their name everywhere, so I gave the record a chance. Loved it on first listen so I snagged tickets to their Dallas show (seeing a lot of other cities sell out) - Excited to see them play in a couple weeks.
  8. SmithBerryCrunch

    Trusted Prestigious

    They're super fun live. I could watch Dylan (the singer/guitarist) for hours. He's so damn good.
  9. suicidesaints

    Trusted Prestigious

    Yeah, the guitar work is definitely what drew me in. Will be cool to see them play in such a small venue.
  10. CMilliken


    Such a great album. Been on repeat since it’s release.
  11. Thanks for reading!
  12. sukottokairu


    awesome and fun album, and great review!
    Drew Beringer and Dan O'Neill like this.
  13. chewbacca110

    He wrenches on it. He thinks it's his.

    I’ve listened to this daily since it dropped. Truly loving it.
  14. Lucas27


    Awesome review.

    This album, man. Every time I get in the car I think I'm ready to listen to something else, but nope.
  15. Dan O'Neill


    Tiny Moving Parts always release exactly what I’m craving. This album is no different. So so good.
  16. y2jayjk

    Trusted Prestigious

    I love this band and album so much. Making Minnesota proud.

    Great review!
    Dan O'Neill and Drew Beringer like this.
  17. robargarthan


    As a Tiny Moving Parts fan that’s loved all of their work since This Couch, I just can’t seem to get into this album. I don’t know if it’s just not the right time in my life or what. It feels very much like more of the same from Celebrate, which I should be happy with since I loved that record, but it’s just not grabbing me like I’d hoped. I really want to enjoy this one and plan on spinning it periodically over the next few weeks to see. Nonetheless, great review!
    Hazelnutsack likes this.
  18. bertbro


    Fantastic review. In particular, I loved Jetty Bones' contribution to so many songs on this album. Her voice is the perfect contrast to Dylan's.
  19. josh-

    Twitter: @joshcaraballin

    I feel the same way. It’s weird because everyone who’s hearing the band for the first time seemingly loves the album. I do think this will be a huge album for the band though.
    robargarthan and Hazelnutsack like this.
  20. y2jayjk

    Trusted Prestigious

    Couch was my favorite album still until this one.

    Bam, your theory is SMASHED.
    Dan O'Neill and Drew Beringer like this.
  21. Helloelloallo

    Trusted Supporter

    I love this album on the first few listens but it definitely feels like a guilty pleasure due to me being 30 and this kind of music just seeming immature. The guitar work is great and i love the passion in these sort of vocals, but it's definitely something I feel like I shouldn't be listening to at this point in my life but I will anyway.
  22. Hazelnutsack


    Same here basically, to me I just think this is a much weaker celebrate and the lyrics have REALLY gone downhill. The production is way too glossy and it just seems like a bunch of tmp songs I've already heard from the boys, although less fresh since Celebrate/ This Couch/ Pleasant Living etc. already exists. I am however happy for them and the new fans they'll undoubtedly pull in from this new album.
    robargarthan likes this.
  23. Lucas27


    I don't really see myself getting too mature for this music, or really any particular genre, but it is becoming rarer for me to find an artist I love in this genre because my tastes are naturally getting mellower. Swell is my first real AOTY contender though and I haven't even listened to Tiny Moving Parts before this. It just sounds so good to my ears.
  24. grimis16


    I don't remember enjoying any of their previous stuff, so I'm surprised how much I'm into this album.
  25. CMilliken


    What seems immature about this album? Just curious.