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Tiny Moving Parts returns with ‘Swell’

February 5, 2018

 

Photo courtesy of Upset Magazine

 

STARLA GATSON
Editor-in-Chief | sjg021@latech.edu

 

Nearly two years after the release of their previous album, Minnesota-based emo revival band Tiny Moving Parts returned to the music scene with “Swell.” The 10-track record was released Jan. 26 and marks the band’s sixth studio album.

 

The overall themes of the album are exactly what one might expect from any emo revival band: angst, anxiety and heartache. However, its playful guitar riffs and headbang-inducing instrumentals complement the emotional lyrics, making it peppy enough to jam to with friends but real enough to evoke some sort of genuine emotion.

 

The album’s opening track, “Applause,” sets the tone for the rest of the record. Lead vocalist Dylan Mattheisen’s scream of “Send applause to your heart strings” unleashes the uptempo, high energy vibe the record maintains through almost every track.

 

The lyrics for each song are uncomplicated and easily understandable, making it relatively easy for any listener to connect to the music. However, the lyrics, though simple are honest and still powerful enough to evoke the same emotion for the listener that Mattheisen expresses through his vocals.

 

Songs like “Wildfire” and “It’s Too Cold Tonight” are a few of the album’s darkest tracks, and express feelings of inadequacy and a loss of purpose. Lyrics like “I cared a little too much” are a plea for acceptance and affection, and “I think you wish I wasn’t around anymore” accurately portray feelings of being unwanted.

 

These emotion-driven lyrics are smoothly counterbalanced by easy, uptempo instrumentals, which provide an optimistic undertone.

 

“Malfunction” serves as the album’s typical post-breakup tune. Mattheisen sings “I refuse to accept what’s really going on,” making it clear that he is in denial over the loss of a relationship and has inherited a sense of feeling left behind. Though the lyrics were slightly less impressive than those of any other song, the instrumentals made up for it, and the lively guitar riffs added a different dynamic to the the track.

 

In an interview with Alternative Press, Mattheisen explained the album’s artwork, which depicts a broken and stitched hand holding a cigarette and flashing the “rock on” sign, is representative of a search for the silver linings in the dark spots of life. He said the album is intended to reflect the idea of looking on the bright side of an unfavorable situation.

 

“Swell” does just that.

 

With this record, Tiny Moving Parts shows listeners it’s OK not to be OK. Though the songs are full of agony and are at times a bit melodramatic, there is an optimistic undertone that offers a bit of hope for a better tomorrow.

 

“Swell” puts Tiny Moving Parts on the right track for a successful 2018, and gives listeners 10 tracks of relatable storytelling that tug on the heartstrings, making it a swell listen indeed.

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