Review Summary: There's a headache in my head from listening to this too much.
Recently I had the privilege of seeing Tiny Moving Parts live at Bled Fest, and walked away having seen one of my favorite shows of the day, with an utterly sweat-drenched body and a missing shoe. Their new album, Celebrate, was released a week prior to the show, so I had time to learn to scream most of the lyrics. Tiny Moving Parts were not only the main highlight for me at Bled Fest this year, but have also released my favorite album of 2016.
Celebrate takes listeners in a fresh direction for Tiny Moving Parts, seamlessly weaving pop-punk, emo, and math rock together. This album is upbeat while retaining the amazing technical delivery that Tiny Moving Parts are so well known for. Celebrate still has its softer moments, especially in “Common Cold,” “Stay Warm,” and “Minnow.” Yet, through and through, the album exercises an energetic and happy tone.
The album starts off with “Good Enough,” which works as the perfect opener, showcasing vocalist/guitarist Dylan Mattheisen’s beautiful finger-tapping guitar work, and instantly we’re thrown into the gang vocals of “Nothing’s ever good enough!” Next up is “Happy Birthday,” which is possibly one of the best singalong songs off the album (in addition to“Birdhouse” and “Headache”). “Birdhouse” has possibly my favorite riff on the record, if not one of my favorite opening guitar riffs ever, blending pop-punk punchiness and the brightness of finger-tapping guitar work. “You were drenched down to the bone/I was so cold yet so warm/we went inside, and dried out the night/well, everything is gone, but the memory remains,” couldn’t have been a better closer, yelled with poetic precision. The fourth track, “Headache,” is by far the most pop-punk-esque song on the record. Jumping a bit farther in, you’ll find TMP utilizing a finger-tapping intro over a looping guitar track in “Breathe Deep,” eighth notes at first, then sixteenth notes, lending another degree of complexity to their work.
With Tiny Moving Parts, I appreciate how their poetic lyrics and similarly eloquent guitar work fits together. With Celebrate, because of the much more energetic vibe, the lyrics fit absolutely perfectly, with desperate, bittersweet reflections made in search for joy. “Swimming in circles is all that I know/well, I’m a lost minnow with nowhere to go/maybe everything is meant to be,” closes “Minnow” in a bittersweet crossroads left for the listener to interpret. If the band’s musical and lyrical mixture wasn’t already uniquely great in Pleasant Living, then they are at their best on Celebrate. Even the music video for “Headache” says some things about the themes woven into the record.
All in all, I couldn’t find any problems with Tiny Moving Part’s Celebrate, although for those who would want slower and softer songs all the way through, you might be disappointed. That being said, there are still softer, more delicate parts, and I didn’t find the lack of softer songs annoying . And it’s not as if there isn’t any intricate guitar work—rather, it’s everywhere; you won’t find a song that Mattheisen fails to produce technically proficient guitar work. Even Billy Chevalier expounds on his quirky and ridiculously fun drum patterns, which fit gloriously in TMP’s montage of influences. For pop-punk fans who want to experience a top-notch math rock band, Celebrate is the album for you.
And for me, this is album of the year material right here.