Tiny Moving Parts - Breathe (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Tiny Moving Parts

Breathe (2019)


Tiny Moving Parts are one of the bands I've always felt deserved more recognition, not just for their volume, but their quality. Celebrate to me stands tall as their best body of work and really set a high bar, one so high not even tracks like "Caution" and the songs off 2018's Swell could live up to. It caught me by surprise just a year later Breathe followed up, but I can't say I agree with the sound on display. It feels like a bunch of B-sides and filler content that really made the last album lose some steam and with that, it ends up being like TMP chucks out some by-the-numbers tracks meant for the poppier crowd Hopeless Records targets.

Now, I'm a fan of the band and the label, but TMP songs that are pretty much average pop punk and less indie are found in intervals on their albums. Most of their music is hard-hitting, indie punk which is why Celebrate feels like their best collective, but also best balanced material to date. Here, "The Midwest Sky" as the song hints has that Midwest burn to it but it feels a lot like the last album. Sure, you get bits of "Clouds Above My Head" on tappy jams like "Medicine" and the banjo on "Vertebrae" but all these tracks just lack that oomph as the music lets Dylan Mattheisen focus on his clean vocals, and not the angry swells of emotion and shouting a la "For the Sake of Brevity." Hearing the latter remastered recently on a 7", I really felt it was a welcomed sign TMP would go harder, but instead they're slow, melodic, catch, but at times repetitive and boring.

I did enjoy hearing Jetty Bones' cooing voice on "Icicles (Morning Glow)" but other than that there aren't that many songs to phone home about. There aren't even rock ballads a la "Minnesota" and while the closer "Hallmark" tries to mix aggression with toned-down indie licks to somewhat appeal to folks like me, it's just not the impact I expected from the band this time around. They're cookie-cutter on this album and I don't think someone with an artistic mind as TMP would rush things, it's something more I believe. It may be a stylistic change, especially as Billy Chevalier doesn't even go off of the kit like past albums, so all I can surmise is TMP are going the chill route -- making good music but still, a far cry from what I know they're capable of.