Tiny Moving Parts Celebrate
Published May 18, 2016There's a fairly popular YouTuber named Jarrod Alonge known for his humorous and often remarkably on-point parody songs based on fads in underground music. There's one, called "Canadian Softball," that pairs angst-ridden, faux-poetic, off-pitch yowling with post-rock sad-riffing to form an exaggerated caricature of modern emo's tropes (with nonsensical Jaden Smith tweets for lyrics, to boot); it's the sum of the style's cheesiest clichés, which is what makes it funny. Unfortunately, it's also very close to what it's like listening to Tiny Moving Parts.
To be fair, there are some likeable moments on the Minnesota group's third album, Celebrate, if it's already in your musical wheelhouse. There's some gorgeous (albeit uninventive) guitar work, with eloquent, intricate fretting that's prominent on songs like "Good Enough" and "Volumes," among several others, and there are some spirited, anthemic sections on tracks like "Happy Birthday" and "Minnesota," which channel a little bit of blink-182's glory days. There are moderate bouts of emotional poignancy, like "Birdhouse" and "Minnow." In fact, it can be quite enjoyable if you're able to ignore its inescapable mawkishness.
Between the band's mostly derivative sound, singer Dylan Mattheisen's cloyingly over-enunciated squawking, and lyrics that are hackneyed at best and truly head-scratching at worst — "Tell the furniture to take off their costumes," for example, or the crème de la crème, "There is a headache in my head" — Celebrate feels like a trite imitation of the emo genre. Still, there's a good chance the record will stick in your head, for better or for worse.
Younger fans of this style will probably love it. But when so many others are doing essentially the same thing, and so much better, what's the point? (Triple Crown)