Paul Trygstad has a flair for the dramatic. As In Details, his on stage persona, his sets reach a crescendo with a nine minute epic in which he serenades a mannequin head named Matilda... and sometimes she sings back. That dramatism seeps through In Details' second EP release, A Series of Tiny Demises. Though it may not reach the ludicrous heights of “Cincinnati, OH” from his freshman outing Things You Should Tell Me, ASOTD is a top to bottom solid release that finds In Details in full command of an evolving sound.
From beginning to end, A Series of Tiny Demises succeeds on the strength of its production. Simply put, this EP sounds fantastic. Sweeping synthesizers and propulsive drum beats perfectly serve Trygstad's pop songwriting sensibility, without burying his nuanced piano playing. The epitome of this is the EP's second track “Looking for a Monster,” a dance pop banger with an arena-sized chorus. That is not to say that ASOTD’' production is completely immaculate. Paul’s voice has been layered a few too many times, making him sound slightly inhuman. This creates an especially strange contrast with his lyrics, which are exceedingly direct and honest and are slightly diminished being delivered in such a way.
Though Tiny Demises represents a huge leap forward in production quality for In Details, it also showcases Trygstad's songwriting taking a new angle on familiar subject matter. His first release, Things, was very much a breakup album, intensely focused on the end of one relationship. ASOTD, then, is a post-breakup album, written with heart still broken but no longer hurting. Indeed, it's evident throughout the EP that Paul is the architect of several of his own tiny demises. On “Hound,” he paints himself in a downward spiral of attempted bar room hookups: “I'm just a hound, throw me a bone.” In Details' best stuff, however, is still directed at those who have done him wrong. “No well wishes for cold bitches, from the bastard that I am” he snarks on “Lions and Pears,” which as a song is a full fledged assault on the type of friend who takes far more often than they give.
A Series of Tiny Demises is a confident and competent EP from an artist that clearly isn’t finished growing. The next steps for In Details aren’t clear yet, but if this release is any indication they will certainly be in the right direction.
For fans of: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Ben Folds, having too many feelings
Our take: Compelling, heartfelt songwriting; solid production; sad piano pop you can dance to