Tiny Little Houses
Idiot Proverbs


4.0
excellent

Review

by BlushfulHippocrene CONTRIBUTOR (17 Reviews)
February 4th, 2018 | 44 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Affection at a cost

I might have dismissed Idiot Proverbs had I not learnt the chorus to lead single ‘Entitled Generation’ sooner. “Damn our entitled generation,” frontman Caleb Karvountzis whines, atop rumbling guitars and inert snare claps. The latter part of this hook I had, at first, mistaken for “anti-youth generation”. Perhaps not the least forgivable of mischaracterisations -- within the context of the song, either results in a similar sentiment -- although I do think it highlights an important distinction. Were it not for the song’s sarcastic demeanor, I’m not convinced it’d be as successful as it is. Under a spotted veil of semi-ironic (see: semi-earnest) social critique, the band find themselves at their most comfortable. Karvountzis at once bemoans the titular age of entitlement, while accosting previous generations for having cultivated it. He bastardises an ancient proverb, “what you plant is what you get”. The song’s a little confused, but I think that’s the point: a curious commitment, to self-flagellate on the behalf of an entire generation -- vindication, scorn -- an admonition of noone and everyone, all at once. It’s within these uncertain dichotomies (or lack thereof) that Tiny Little Houses flourish, an endearing blend of blind assertiveness and bold irresolution, punctuating an unhealthy dose of pessimism.

It’s no surprise that each of the album’s singles land toward its front-end, reflective of a particular progression found throughout Idiot Proverbs, both sonic and thematic. But also: the hooks, friends, the hooks. Opener ‘Garbage Bin’ -- the band’s most successful thus far -- anthemises what Karvountzis sees as the gradual, unavoidable perversion of childhood innocence. It’s fun, though, I promise: “I could keep swimming, but I wanna give in,/ I’m a garbage bin, life’s a garbage bin”, chants the well-meaning crowd. Despite a pervading pessimism, Idiot Proverbs excels at gleaning positives from overbearing negatives; even if we do give in, we might as well drown smiling. In the end, the music is as energetic as it is sleepy. Fixed (though not stuck) within an oft-higher register, the vocals range from snot-nosed and childish (‘Garbage Bin’) to despairingly reflective (‘The Void’). A welp defines the entirety of ‘Garbage Bin’. Of course, though, the liveliness of feel-good(-about-feeling-bad) ‘Short Hair’ would be nothing without the rest of the band. Guitarist Sean Mullins stitches together a lethargic, borderline apathetic riff that bubbles on top of the verses before unexpectedly bursting through thin walls of feedback to dance along with the chorus. As fuzzed-out and rebellious as the band get, the noise rock and folk punk influences are undeniable; the band more than often embody what is best described as indie pop however, dabbling also in emo and shoegaze.

On title track ‘Idiot Proverbs’, the band capitaluate; the album is shed of all pretense as Karvountzis lets out one final sigh of frustration: “there’s never a time you’ll ever work it all out”. The clearest articulation of the album’s central theme, the song laments what Karvountzis sees as an overbearing set of expectations placed on millenials. No amount of sarcasm on ‘Entitled Generation’ can mask the bitterness found in its introductory couplet: “I’m 25 and still not living out of home,/ got two degrees and I’m stuck working on the phones”. The line from which the song and album get their title, however, is perhaps a tad more enlightening: “these are just my idiot proverbs,/ and these are just the things I say”. Idiot Proverbs feels lost. It is confused. But that’s the point. At no point does Karvountzis claim to be an authority on these matters -- no more is he certain of these things than the authors he chooses to reference, be it Twain, Tolstoy, or Moses himself. More than anything, Idiot Proverbs is fueled by Karvountzis’ own anxieties. Penultimate track, ‘The Void’, is despairing testament to such, large and dream-like; the shoegaze worship is most apparent here, on all but the vocals -- laced with reverb, drawling, but melodic as ever. Tiny Little Houses’ is an inextricable charm. Idiot Proverbs, losing hope, lulls itself into a pit of depression from which it never escapes -- closer ‘Drag Me’ finds itself lost at the centre of it -- but there is a light, and it never goes out. I promise.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


2195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'Garbage Bin': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CfbbpCfLJQ

Alternate summary: "Do you like books,/ and music with hooks?" Huge thanks to Jack for proofreading and being him.

Digging: Mappe Of - A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone

AsleepInTheBack
February 4th 2018


5409 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stunner of a review, Blush (though I did pick up your repeated use of "lethargic" in relatively quick succession in the second para, but that's a minor gripe). I'll certainly be checking this one out.

kingdedethefifth
February 4th 2018


5451 Comments


Fantastic review! You had my interest peaked at folk punk haha.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


2034 Comments


You dare not up the bar for contributor quality; I refuse to write this damn well

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 4th 2018


25623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Superbly written, Blush. I need to get on this, thank you for the review.

Digging: All The Luck In The World - A Blind Arcade

ianblxdsoe
February 4th 2018


1725 Comments


best benefit of not being promoted: my reviews don’t have to live up to how fucking amazing this absolute gem is, the mindpos is real you absolute legend ;)) love u blush

Digging: Car Seat Headrest - Twin Fantasy (Face to Face)

kris.
February 4th 2018


14818 Comments


this seems like it'd be right up my alley, great review bluuush

clavier
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


534 Comments


Eeee, a Blush review - as well-written as always

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


20736 Comments


this makes me so happy, right here

Blush one of your best and I'm not just sayin that cuz of the new tag dude. just proves how much ya deserved this promo. keep it up (:

you think I'd dig this?

zakalwe
February 4th 2018


24414 Comments


Tiny pair of testicles? You’ll dig.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


20736 Comments


zak I feel like you can do better than that

zakalwe
February 4th 2018


24414 Comments


It was a proverb you fool

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


20736 Comments


I'd make an idiot joke but I feel like you already implied you are such

JesusCage
February 4th 2018


227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening this 'cause really liked the cover art. It got me curious.

Digging: Linda Martini - Linda Martini

Gyromania
February 4th 2018


23981 Comments


good review, has some errors though

" Idiot Proverbs accels at gleaning positives from overbearing negatives; "

excels*

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


2195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks so much, Gyro and Ben, for the edits, and everyone for reading, and for the kind words and feature. (:

@Connor, I think you would, actually. If you want a taster first, I'd listen Garbage Bin and The Void. Shows the album's two extremes.

Fast forward now to college where I'm funking out of class,/ and the student loans are starting to bite me in the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASS

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
February 4th 2018


2003 Comments


"In the end, the music is as energetic as it is sleepy"

i had no idea what this meant until i started listening to the album and now i think it's the most apt thing ever.

Digging: Damaar - Triumph Through Spears Of Sacrilege

hasan
February 5th 2018


849 Comments


album cover is freaky lol

also check me out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz7TrVx0tGo

BlushfulHippocrene
Contributing Reviewer
February 5th 2018


2195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"i had no idea what this meant until i started listening to the album and now i think it's the most apt thing ever."

Had a hard time describing the sound of this one, I don't think I did it justice. The last three songs are immaculate and I didn't want to spoil them. Also 'Nowhere, SA' kinda sounds like Modest Mouse to me, which I didn't end up mentioning. P.S. I love you.

AsleepInTheBack
February 5th 2018


5409 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I get a lot of Modest Mouse vibes of this tbh, aloof/resigned distain



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