Tiny Moving Parts: Pleasant Living

Paul Whyte

It was maybe seven years ago when Tiny Moving Parts from Benson, MN played a show at Thirsty Pagan to a “crowd” of maybe five or six people. The entire band was under 21 except for the drummer. It seemed uncertain of how this band no one has heard of would do. Was this just going to be another pointless night of music that’s too loud for nothing? No, despite the lack of people attending, I became convinced that if any band in the region had a potential to go on and find some sort of success, Tiny Moving Parts was on top of that list.

The band had a keyboard player back then and he went on to go to college and at that time the band was wondering if they’d break up and also go to college. As far as I know, the rest of the band didn’t go that route. Since that show the band has been on numerous tours and has continued to progress, not to say that they weren’t tight from the get go. The band was included on the Riot Fest line up for the Chicago stop and will be playing in Denver on September 19, but will be coming back to the region with their record release show at Triple Rock in Minneapolis on September 28.

I’m not going to say that the band doesn’t have a little bit of a feel of pop-punk and that it’s also a little emotional. In a way I’m reminded of Blink 182’s self titled album released in 2003. Of course “Pleasant Living” is it’s own thing, I’d like to not make this a compare and contrast sort of deal, but when writing about music it’s sometimes necessary to lay out something that people might get the idea. “Pleasant Living” is more technical; The dynamic of a three piece with two vocals that play a key element in the music is similar.

Guitar player and lead vocalist, Dylan Mattheisen, is probably one of the best guitar players I’ve ever seen, at least for what he does. The style is an intricate mix of the usual rock guitar and then mind blowing finger taps, melodic patterns, build ups and other stuff that most guitar players don’t do unless you’re Mark Kroos (one of my favorite guitar players ever that I’ve had the chance to meet). Another thing is not so much Mattheisen’s vocal’s, but the lyrics. The lyrics are backed up by the often strained screamed style vocals of bassist, Matthew Chevalier. Chevalier isn’t a one trick pony by just doing the emotional yells, there’s moments of sung and spoken parts where it all just falls into place like clock work. Billy Chevalier is a sick drum player and never lets the band seem dull for a second. Finesse to quick snaps all over the kit hold down the rather dramatic feel of the band.
So it should be established that the band is pretty much phenomenal. The romantic obsessed lyrics are what ties together the whole package in the end. Nothing ever seems fake or contrived with this band. Sure, it has a level of catchiness, but when I’ve said in other reviews that how I hope something would be a little more hard hitting, Mattheisen pulls through. It’s more like poetry than forced verses and choruses.

The things that I feel could be criticized (I’m not, but someone could) is actually the emotional impact of the album. I think that making something that’s not so happy can be pretty easy to relate to for a lot of people or no one would know who The Smiths are. One thing that I’d kind of hoped for is a change of pace in the album. I’ll use Deftones “White Pony” as an example of an album that really switches it up. While “Pleasant Living” overall is quite good, it has the same tempo and feel throughout. What is happening is awesome but I think exploring around a little more yet still utilizing what I know this band is capable of would be a good next step for them. Although the band brings in piano, trumpet, backing female vocals and what sounds like maybe a xylophone in the final track “Van Beers,” I’d like to see them push a little more towards that direction. They’ve achieved something really great and I’ll listen to this album here and there after this. Focusing on furthering their sound, whether it be more experimental, down tempo, or perhaps even more hardcore while still hanging on to this band’s overall presentation will be something that I hope will happen.

Irregardless, I’d strongly recommend that anyone who happens to be in the Twin Cities on September 28 should check this band out and if they are in the Twin Ports, this next time around, go see them, they’re something else.