Tiny Moving Parts - This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Tiny Moving Parts

This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship (2013)

Kind of Like Records

On This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship, Minnesota three-piece Tiny Moving Parts blend the emo-noodley musical style a la Dads with the screamed-poetic vocals, like a less thematically dense version of La Dispute. The yelled lines hold a bit of a melody and give urgency to album that does not let up for the twenty-seven minutes it's on. The back and forth singing successfully drives home the introspective points, and it's done in a way that convinces you that they are a close bunch, finishing each others' sentences. At its best, the music keeps up with an unrelenting forward momentum ("Vacation Bible School").

Lyrically, Tiny Moving Parts explore ongoing debates about identity and beauty ("Greyscale") and relationships ("John P."). Yet after all this speculation, the positive, self-affirming undertones are just as relevant ("Dakota" and "Amateur Hour"), fitting them perfectly on Kind of Like Records. While the lines do not break much new ground (We speak our own language that no one understands), they raise unanswered questions, which can be just as important if not entertaining nonetheless.

Now, listening to this record is a mental workout – starting with the ringing guitar at 0:01. The flares and riffs are reminiscent of the most exciting warm up exercises around. When songs stretch and retract, they pull you in, out and around like an aural roller-coaster. Amongst all the activity, you don't register any emotions until after you get off the ride. Don't get me wrong. I love this style of music in small doses. I must sound like an elderly woman suffering from vertigo, but after three songs, I am exhausted. Maybe that is a product of our ADD culture of Vine videos, but then I would argue so are their caesuras, swells and other complications (see "Waterbed"). So much is going on at any given time that the act of focusing in on any one part to appreciate the technicality is an achievement, which is a shame because the band is talented.

Tiny Moving Parts anticipate this. The record has a few intermissions. "I" and "II" are taken from Brett Farve's press conference in 2008, when he announced his plans to leave Green Bay. Where interviews or other samples often give much needed breaks for the listener, here the sentiment fits, but something about hearing a grown man choked up leaves me even more bogged down than before. The atmospheric musings layered over the famous footballer would have sufficed instead.

A challenge that many of these mathy, emo bands face is in finding that happy medium – where everything falls effortlessly into place. Sometimes it works; sometimes, not so much. One great thing about This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship is that the trio never spend too long trying to get the pieces to fit. Where many of their cohorts spend all this extra time wandering around some obscure musical cavity, Tiny Moving Parts know how to keep their welcome.

At the end of the day, any of their faults will naturally fade away with time, and this band will be worth keeping an eye on.