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Album Review: Swell by Tiny Moving Parts

Tiny Moving Parts release their fourth album Swell on 26th January via Big Scary Monsters. While the album may have the band’s familiar and unique blend of punk rock, emo revivalism and math pop, this feels a little darker and sadder. “The album is about trying to be the best person you can be,” explains vocalist/guitarist Dylan Mattheisen, “and being as happy as you can in the world we live in. That’s been kind of the overall theme of our band – just trying to find the positive in shitty situations and keeping your head up.”

While the lyrical content of 10 tracks on Swell may go a little deeper and be a touch more introspective there’s still the overwhelmingly positive music that turns the whole 30 minutes into an uplifting and life affirming experience. In that essence, it isn’t that different from 2014’s Pleasant Living or 2016’s Celebrate. It is however, another step up on the ladder of Tiny Moving Parts’ progression.

Recorded in Blaine, Minnesota by Greg Lindholm – with whom they recorded 2010’s The Couch Is Long & Full Of Friendship and Celebrate – its ten songs are a rush of blood to both the heart and head, raucous, desperate songs that are fevered and frenzied but infused with the band’s trademark math-rocky guitar licks and playful, shout-a-long choruses. It’s enough to make you forget all your woes and fill your heart with warmth and love.

You’re probably used to the infectiousness of Tiny Moving Parts, but somehow Swell ramps it up a gear, it’s an insatiable listen that begs repeated listens and becomes your best friend. It’s relatable, channelling your insecurities and doubts yet is life affirming, giving you hope and motivation. There isn’t a weak track, all ten are superb, whether it be the mathy ‘Feel Alive’ or the punky urgency of ‘Whale Watching’ every track comes in on point providing an enthralling listen. Lead singles ‘Warm Hand Splash’, ‘Applause’ and ‘Caution’ are particularly strong with the first of those acting as the album closer and perhaps the most emotional and fragile track. Standout track ‘It’s Cold Tonight’ should be your go-to point though, the perfect blend of infectiousness, emotion, introspection and math rock riffs.

That considered, it’ll be no surprise to find it’s an emotionally wrought listen, in the words of the band: “The idea,” explains Mattheisen, “is about following that raw happiness in your brain and allowing it to expand and grow to overcome your doubts. It’s about your brain cells expanding and swelling up and swallowing the negativity in your head to serve an overall better outlook on life. If we can impact people and make them more optimistic in life and be nicer to each other, that’d be amazing. We want to let others know that they’re not alone. Because shit can go wrong and everyone has their bummer days, but in the long run were all going to pass away someday, so we want to make sure we live a good life and do the best we could to ourselves and towards others.”

Superb.

AD Rating: 9/10

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