ALBUM REVIEW: Tiny Moving Parts – Breathe

Release Date: September 13th 2019
Label: Hopeless Records


Tiny Moving Parts have long been a cathartic band. Frontman Dylan Mattheisen yells lyrics that tackle issues surrounding mental health, anxiety, and morality, all whilst always wearing his trademark smile.

Signed to Hopeless Records, the trio bring their small piece of Benson, Minnesota to the world in ‘Breathe’, their fifth and most polished release to date.

The record opens with a fast drum beat and funky guitar riff as ‘The Midwest Sky’ kicks in with 110% energy. It breaks down into mellow verses a few times throughout before bringing the energy right back every time the chorus rolls around. It’s an uplifting opener with all the usual themes of a Tiny Moving Parts song; emo lyrics, references to where they’re from, and awesome guitar hooks.

‘Medicine’ feels like a bit of departure from the band’s norm. It has a more traditional pop-punk repetitive chorus to verse structure, and you can see the influences of having pop-rock producer John Fields on board for this record. However, come the second half of the song, Mattheisen fills in the track with an on-brand riff break down.

‘Soft Spot’ feels like more of a compromise of the catchy choruses that will see Tiny Moving Parts have a broader appeal whilst also including their clumsy lyrical structure in the verses, which is often seen as love/hate aspect of the band’s music.

It’s difficult to call what Mattheisen does singing. It’s more of a let-it-all-out emotional vocal drain, and there’s plenty of that across the record. ‘Polar Bear’ is the best example of this, from a calm opening with a soft and slow beat alongside a long bass line, the song builds and builds to a place in which you feel aggression and energy scream in the final lyrics, “Get ready to fight / I am a polar bear.”

It’s Tiny Moving Parts‘ spoken word, however, that make their sound unique, and this has never been more effective than in ‘Bloody Nose’, which owns such an odd opening line that instantly draws you in and forces you to listen to the lyrics and think about morality. Not to stop there, in ‘Vertebrae’ the trio go one step further to create an original sound and employ a banjo into the track, further bringing their midwest American roots into the frame and proving that there’s more fun in the band than drummer Billy Chevalier‘s Hawaiian shirts and a massive moustache.

‘Breathe’ is a strong collection of tracks that perfectly balance a sense of familiarity to Tiny Moving Parts‘ back catalogue whilst adding in sparks of change and inspiration. It’s fun, cathartic, and beautiful in a truly unique way.