Album Review: Tiny Little Houses – Idiot Proverbs (2018 LP)

Having been in and around Australian listeners’ ears for near enough to the past four years, it’s safe to say it has been a slow burn as Tiny Little Houses have gradually built up to their debut album, the (I hope) mostly ironically titled Idiot Proverbs.

If you do yourself a favour and head over to their Facebook page, you’ll be graced with a page that resembles more closely a meme page, rather than a legitimate band page. And it’s here you realise the beauty in what Tiny Little Houses are doing. They’re a band that evidently doesn’t take themselves too seriously, while simultaneously releasing artfully great and angular indie rock.

Moving away from the softer and less agitated music that initially gave the band a spot on many people’s playlists, the newer material found on Idiot Proverbs shows a band (and songwriter) that is finally becoming comfortable in what they’re doing as a band and lyricist. Noting that much of the content for the album comes from personal experiences, front man and vocalist Caleb Karvountzis delivers a wry take on life, through his pronunciation, inflection, emphasis and play on words.

Opening up with the already released “Garbage Bin” and “Entitled Generation”, if you had never listened to the four piece before, you’d almost immediately feel like you’re listening to late 1990’s rock, in the shape of Weezer and Wheatus. And with these two bands seemingly game-changers in varying respects, this is more than complimentary to what Tiny Little Houses are doing. “Entitled Generation” comments on the much maligned Generation Y and whether or not it’s their fault that they can’t find work, buy homes or are overly educated. For someone that sits conveniently in this generation, I 100% agree with the sentiment of the song. “Entitled Generation” is short and punchy, gets its point across and definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album.

Taking inspiration from someone who seemingly takes themself too seriously, the chorus of “Short Hair” is killer. Up next is “Team Player” and with it the most melodic and beautifully constructed closing minute of the album. “Team Player” is the early stand out from Idiot Proverbs that rightly justifies the praise the band has been receiving and developing in the lead up to the release of the LP.

The downbeat and earnest “Nowhere, SA”, I guess, sums up the general consensus about South Australia: there really isn’t much to do for the youth. On the other hand, it could also be about the general feeling of outgrowing a place/ relationship and realising it would be better to move on to something better and different. In short, “Nowhere, SA” is the best track off Idiot Proverbs.

The darkest and saddest songs of the album help close it all out, as “Caroline”, ‘The Void” and “Drag Me” leave you on the verge of an emotional crisis; one that could possibly have been transcended through the band into their music. One thing to take from Idiot Proverbs is the extreme feeling of mortality through out the whole album. Whether it was an intended theme or primary focus through out the writing is still to be seen.

When listening to the album from front-to-back, I couldn’t help but feel as though the album is an increasingly grounded release from an increasingly grounded band. Just from the album title alone, you sense that it could all be a little tongue-in-cheek, or something so incredibly self-conscious it leaves you almost concerned for the well being of the band as they sing and play their way through ten tracks of melancholic indie-rock. Whatever it is, Tiny Little Houses have it down pat and should continue channelling what they’ve tapped into.

Idiot Proverbs is an album that is just rewards for those who have followed the band from its earliest stages. More importantly though, it’s an album that has set the stage for the band to truly grow into an act that will thrive in the industry; if that’s what the band wants to do.

Review Score: 8 out 10.

Idiot Proverbs is out now.