I’ve been sitting on this post about Brooklyn’s Tiny Victories for months. I absorbed the band and mulled over what to say, I kept trying to see them live and decided that my writing would wait until then. Not that recordings and performance should be viewed as inclusive, but they coexist. Both inform what you know as “the band”.
Tiny Victories is, surprisingly, just two people: Greg Walters and Cason Kelly. While both are multi-instrumentalists, during their live setup you will see Kelly mostly behind drums, while Walters is on vocals and keys – sampling live sounds and audience members throughout and incorporating them into the tracks that you can hear on their first release “Those Of Us Still Alive” EP.
The first time I heard “Mr. Bones” I felt that rare but familiar feeling of that fantasy scene in that coming-of-age movie where someone is running and everything culminates in this epic romanticism. It had this John Hughes emotional tug and reminded me strongly of General Public’s “Tenderness“. That is to say, what a single! It’s that song that makes you believe in anything. Two decades ago, I would spend an entire sunny afternoon with my finger tensely levitating above the “Play/Record” buttons on my stereo waiting to hear this song on the radio.
“Gravitron” is another unmistakeable gem, with Walters’ low octave vocals set against a bright synth-laden backdrop, it’s almost like a perfect amalgamation of Passion Pit and Future Islands. Do you remember The Russian Futurists? One of my favorite tracks was the opener to their eponymous 2003 album “Let’s Get Ready To Crumble”, which starts by saying ”I make pop ’cause that’s where my heart goes, I don’t call it art, no sir.” Tiny Victories is bubbling over with such sentiment; its songs’ hazy, magnetic layers contoured by sweetly tense pulses. The arrangements would put a twinkle in Paul Simon‘s eye.
Their debut “Those Of Us Still Alive” EP is a really impeccable sampling of what I hope is the best is still to come. It may have come out early in the year, but these are the songs that will make your summer.
Dig in: watch the video for “Mr. Bones” and listen to the whole EP below.