I’ll avoid using the much-maligned, oft-hashtagged name tacked to last year’s specific punk/indie resurgence, but it’s true that 2013 gave us an excess of exemplary emo music. Among the first bands in the movement I noticed was New Hampshire trio Old Gray, whose An Autobiography was one of last year’s early gems. Amongst the tidal wave of emo, it took me a while to realize I’d slept on This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship, the excellent debut from Tiny Moving Parts. It’s appropriate that they now share a split 7”, as Tiny Moving Parts are something of a Midwestern counterpart to Old Gray’s New England punk – part screamo, part twinkly indie, but with an extra helping of math rock. The two also work well together here, as the Minnesota-based band offer some positivity to accentuate Old Gray’s side of loss and pain. “Fair Trade,” the last and best song on the split, also brings an epiphany that seems to neatly close the band’s narrative begun on This Couch. “I have never been so sad and scared at the same time,” Dylan Mattheisen sang on the LP’s opener, “Dakota.” Contrast that with the final push of “Fair Trade,” where Mattheisen and co-vocalist Matthew Chevalier roar, “Dear Mom and Dad, I’m not afraid. Can you tell just by looking at your son’s face?” Emo derives so much of its power from the juxtaposition between hyperactive musicianship and depressive lyrics; “Fair Trade” is proof that a peek into the bright side can be just as effective.
The Old Gray/Tiny Moving Parts split is out now via Kind Of Like Records in the US and Dog Knights Productions in the UK.