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Album Review: ‘Swell’ by Tiny Moving Parts



tiny moving parts swell

I sit here in bed completely “swelling” and quite literally living the life of an insomniac. The swelling from having 4 impacted wisdom teeth plus part of a jaw bone removed, but this is not the only reason I am swelling.

Minnesota’s Tiny Moving Parts have released their 4th LP Swell this past week via Triple Crown Records. I cannot help but rave about a group that has such a happy-go-lucky demeanor and is just satisfied to be living. There is something particular about their attitude shown in a milieu,  where many artists are trying to mesh themselves in the lining that makes for a post-2000’s Emo Revival. While many of those artists have went through extravagant lineup and sound changes, TMP has just slightly tweaked what their formula is all about. Considering the 3-piece is two brothers and a blood related cousin, this could have led to foreseeable issues, yet it has not. Sometimes as a group it is hard to be self-observant of “what can we bring to ensure our fans can evolve with us” so to speak. In a recent interview with Alternative Press, lead vocalist and guitarist Dylan Mattheisen discloses that they acknowledge fans who’s favorite work is from the past as early as their 2010 The Moving To Antartica EP. “We had to start somewhere. I’m very touched when people hear about that somewhere, but when they say that it’s better than our new stuff, I’m like, “Oh, well. Thank you? I guess?” It’s cool, I get it. But the new stuff we put a whole lot more time into!” Later in the interview, he states, “You can’t please everybody, and we know that. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing because we love every part about being in a band. We just want to tour as much as possible and be happy.”


The band comes at us with just that theme in Swell. Hard work, consistent progression in production, and continued mind-blowing tapping riffs/finger picking. Clocking in at barely over 30 minutes, the trio packs a punch that their previous work does but takes for more of a pop approach. The dynamic lead guitar arpeggios are complemented by brothers Will and Matt on drums and bass. The irresistible pop choruses are followed by heartfelt parts of keyboard notably on “Smooth It Out” & “Whale Watching”, and horns on “Warm Hand Splash”. The only thing you that you can pin against the band is that the lyrics are somewhat witless and overelaborated, but the vocal style Mattheisen brings is a perfect addition to the instrumentals and tempo offered. Another thing is that once you see the energy that the group has live you wonder how all that sound comes from the 3 individuals. The performance Mattheisen provides is one that is a site to be seen.


For a personal and everlasting connection, the lyrics in each song seem to indicate they are always chasing something. Wanting the feeling of being full and satisfied versus empty. Taking opportunities to only feel misled and slighted at times. Living in a world of second guesses and trying to make things more of the way you want them to be. Staying patient and working for that break in life when confusion has led your world into disarray. Constantly feeling like you are misunderstood by those who are supposed to love and care for you, but breathing and moving along as you continue to evolve. Helping those who need guidance around you, but not understanding your direction or who you are. Remaining positive and optimistic for emergence of something that helps you remember what love and passion is all about.


In the first month of 2018, Tiny Moving Parts provides us with material that stands the test of their continued legacy. The bar has been set high for those related artists who release music this year. Is this band truly the new cornerstone based on the roots of those sad emo bands?


Check out Tiny Moving Parts on their current headlining tour with Mom Jeans and Oso Oso.

Superb – 4.45/5

Recommended tracks: “Warm Hand Splash” “Feel Alive” “Caution”



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