Review Summary: Kind of like if La Dispute had interesting instrumentation and less pretentious lyrics
It seems like in a lot of my reviews I'm constantly writing about the importance of album length. An excellent album can easily be just a good album if it has too much filler or overstays its welcome. On the other hand, an album that's too short can leave the listener with a bitter taste of unresolved emotions and expectations. Album length is especially important in the emo genre, which to be frank is fairly one-note on the emotional spectrum. An emo album usually relies on baseline feelings and doesn't have a lot of variety, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the album gets in and out without lingering and ruining its mood. This Couch is Long and Full of Friendship
is a 26 minute long blast of tear soaked lyric sheets and twinkly arpeggios that sinks in perfectly and ends just on the right note.
Musically Tiny Moving Parts are somewhere between the math rock inspired emo, and the more conservative crowd. Sure they have the occasional mathy twinkle arpeggio, but they only pop up when needed, and most of the guitar ranges from chords and subtle riffs that serve mostly to establish mood and back up the vocalists. This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship
is definitely a more vocal centered record, but that's not to say the instrumentation is lacking. The guitar, drum, and bass are all fantastic, but simply in a more subdued and far from flashy manner.
Tiny Moving Parts have a complete disregard for verse/chorus/verse structure, as parts are rarely repeated and sometimes it's a shame. like the killer riff towards the beginning of "Clouds Above My Head" that begs to be repeated, but alas is not. The chaotic nature of the band's song structure could easily be a detriment, but the very tight and focused songwriting keep things from getting out of control.
The vocal delivery of Tiny Moving Parts could easily be described as awkward, as the main vocalist half screams his lines and constantly sounds like he's about to either throw up or burst into tears. The backup vocalist has a more traditional scream, which helps offset the yelp of the main singer and keep things from getting monotonous. The lyrics on This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship
are equally as awkward as the vocal delivery, with some lines just coming off as weird, like this line from "Vacation Bible School:"
"Vibrations, tongue and cheek/ what words are worth to even speak anymore?/ In bed by eleven again I hope to disappear in the mattress/ I hope when I fall asleep the pillow eats my teeth."
The unsettling nature of the lyrics manage to create an uncomfortable mood which surprisingly charms instead of coming off as annoying.
Other lines play out perfectly, coming off as somber and sincere, like the last stanza of "Clouds Above My Head:"
"Signs for good luck are never good signs/ They higher your hopes up just to see you die inside/ Please lie to me and tell me that I am okay/ because it's getting worse/ I guess when you're a kid stuck inside a candy store/ you're bound to get sick of everything/ I have learned that signs for good luck are never good signs/ They higher your hopes up just to see you die inside."
The mix of strange, and confound lyrics matched with the clumsy vocal delivery do a fantastic job of complimenting the all over the place song structure and musicianship.
This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship
is a mess of an album that against all odds comes together perfectly. Most of the songs on the record have build-up centered song structures, and the entire album continuously builds upon itself, with each track raising the stakes all the way up to the final track "John P." which gathers every heart torn and bitter feeling comprising the record and smashes them all together exploding with emotion and catharsis. It's hard to say if this album would suffer from a longer running time, but I can say with full confidence that in 26 minutes Tiny Moving Parts accomplished everything a great emo album should seek to accomplish.