Album Review: Tiny Moving Parts

Written by on October 3, 2019

Title: breathe

Artist: Tiny Moving Parts

Record Label: Hopeless Records

Release Date: September 13th, 2019



Midwest math rock/emo revival trio Tiny Moving Parts, recently released their 7th studio album breathe through Hopeless Records.  With their first studio LP being released all the way in 2008, their sound has evolved, grown, and changed throughout the 11 years of them being a band.  The band consists of brothers William and Matthew Chevalier (drums and bass, respectively) and their cousin Dylan Mattheisen on guitar and vocals. Being from Minnesota and part of the Midwest emo-scene, the band has taken obvious heavy influence from popular emo pioneers such as American Football, Chamberlain, and Cap’n Jazz.  This album features their signature sound, including Dylan’s classic guitar riffs full of taps, slides, and harmonics, but they have also added elements to make it unique and different from their previous records.  

The record touches on lyrical themes of longing for happiness, anxiety, love, loss, and the general Midwest.  Melodic choruses are abundant, which is a different element from their earlier material like This Couch is Long and Full of Friendship (2013), which had much more chaotic and vibrant choruses.  The opening track “The Midwest Sky” is electrifying, and really sets the tone for the rest of the record.  Dylan’s guitar work should not be overlooked; his songwriting includes tapping melodies and complex rhythms in the guitar tracks, which all sound incredible.  They are original, beautiful, and drive each song forward. The drum tracks are not as complex as they were on previous albums, but complexity does not necessarily mean that it is good.  In addition, the group’s musicianship and chemistry can really be shown through this record, and it was beautifully mixed, mastered, and produced.

“Icicles (Morning Glow)” includes a xylophone backing interlude during the pre-chorus and bridge, along with a soft techno beat during the bridge.  These elements were never integrated into their music before and they executed it very well. “Vertebrae”, one of the singles on the album, is especially beautiful, both instrumental and lyrically; a slower paced song very nicely compliments lyrical themes of the song.  Reverb was added to the vocals at certain points added depth and a nice effect to Dylan’s voice. On the other hand, there are some tracks that I did not think fondly of and are pretty forgettable. Both “Soft Spot” and “I Can’t Shake” feel uninspired, unoriginal, and did not stand out to me.  There was simply nothing special that I noticed about them. I was also unhappy with some of the choruses since they sounded repetitive; like they were heard before from previous songs. However, these tracks and elements did not take away from the overall artistry of the album and the poetic themes of the lyrics.

This album gives attention great contrasts between fast-paced instrumentals and screaming vocals, and slower ballads with beautiful guitar work, drum fills, and vocal harmonies.  It keeps the listener engaged since no tracks sound the exact same, regardless if some sound similar to each other.  breathe is a record that is perfect for fall weather, as it matches the aesthetic very well.  I don’t know about you, but new/wave and emo music is my go-to come fall time, and this will be included in my rotation going forward as the leaves on the trees fall.

Fav tracks – Hallmark, Icicles (Morning Glow), Vertebrae

Least fav tracks – Soft Spot, I Can’t Shake

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