More often than not, a band’s second attempt fails to impress after a successful debut album. Pleasant Living by Tiny Moving Parts is definitely an exception to this rule. The band’s first LP, This Couch Is Long & Full of Friendship, brought them into the “emo revival” scene and built up a fan base for Tiny Moving Parts. This summer I saw them open for Modern Baseball and they had the crowd screaming along with their relatable lyrics and math-rock guitar solos. It was really good, but Pleasant Living is great.
There is a clear increase in maturity that is exhibited on Pleasant Living, both musically and lyrically. “Sundress,” the album’s opener, introduces this new growth that is carried throughout the album. The screamed words and guitar solos are more calculated and less meant to show off. The lyrical content is less like a stream of consciousness and more full of depth. The transitions between songs are done in a seamless way that makes Pleasant Living easily listened to all the way though.
Lyrically, Tiny Moving Parts can be considered typical emo. Themes of high school, friendships, and failed relationships, are present in a lot of the band’s songs. Pleasant Living is still emo, but less dramatically so. Frontmen Dylan Mattheisen and Matthew Chevalier work together vocally to deliver lyrics like, “I’m not ok, but I will be someday” that show angst with a gained sense of hope. Their voices blend together when necessary but also stand on their own during the spoken and screamed parts of songs such as “Skinny Veins.”
Tiny Moving Parts mixes spoken word, screaming, and experimental rock in way that works extremely well. The closing song of Pleasant Living, “Van Beers,” combines all of the band’s strengths beautifully. Trumpets highlight the clean vocals with lyrics that sound like returning home after time spent on the road. The album’s end showcases Tiny Moving Parts’ growth perfectly.