Applause has to be given to Brisbane indie-pop outfit Last Dinosaurs right off the bat for one reason: it took a long time for their debut LP, In A Million Years, to land on the AU desks.
There’s quite a few indie bands out there that will jump from formation to an EP to a full blown album in less than six months somehow, and then disappear in a blink of a hipsters’ faux-Ray-Ban framed eye. That’s not to say that Last Dinosaurs haven’t been busy; with a myriad of support slots, festival appearances and solo shows about town, they’ve proven time and time again that they have the skill and will to hang around; it’s taken them five years to get to this point. And honestly, with the release of In A Million Years, I’ll wager that they’re going to be important figures in the Australian music scene in years to come.
‘Zoom’ kicks off the album with an incredibly infectious and slick riff. It’s the major single that’s been hanging around for a while now; if you haven’t seen the mind-bending video, check it out:
‘Zoom’ is quite literally an earworm of a song; it’s a finely tuned piece of guitar pop bliss. ‘I Can’t Help’ continues in a similar vein, bringing with it bits and pieces of the ‘Zoom’ riff that create a nice continuity between songs.
‘Sunday Night’ really showcases the experiences that Last Dinosaurs have picked up on their travels, with a little bit of Lost Valentino’s leaking into it (likely from LV member Jono Ma producing their previous EP, Back From The Dead), while ‘Time & Place’ pushes a vibe not unlike early tracks from The Drums; disco beats, catchy riffs, and lyrics that tell a tale of lost love at odds to the music.
‘Andy’ embodies a cross between The Smiths and The Strokes; singer Sean Caskey showcases a voice that has the melancholy of Julian Casablancas without any of the ego, but a versatility of which Thomas Mars (of fellow power-pop outfit Phoenix) could be jealous. ‘Satellite’ is a nice, dreamy, synth laden interlude before ‘Weekend’ brings the guitars back in, melding the two into a neat package.
‘I Can’t Decide’ shows a heavier side to the band (something that we’ll be hearing more of, if the promises made to the crowd at the recent Foster The People concert are to be believed), while ‘Used To Be Mine’ takes a diversion into chillwave-like territory, with spacey guitars and reverb-drenched vocals. As a writer I really don’t think I can find anything new to say about ‘Honolulu’ that hasn’t already been put out there: it’s the anthem for many summers gone by. ‘Repair’ underscores the entire album, with a demonstration of the range the band are capable of. Starting off as a slow burner, the tempo gains momentum as the guitars are introduced, climaxing then fading out with a soft piano tune.
The whole album skirts neatly along a divide between indie pop and new wave, and while there’s influence from an entire range of genres, Last Dinosaurs never seem to want to commit to either genre. Instead, Last Dinosaurs seem to be making a habit of mixing and matching different styles. And what’s more is that they’re incredibly great at it.
Wielding this sort of musical prowess when the eldest member of the band is 22 (the youngest being barely 18) is something that simply is not expected. The album is a surprisingly mature and cohesive collection of songs. With incredibly slick production and the catchiest songs you’ll hear this side of 2000, In A Million Years is a strong contender for the best Australian album of the past twenty years.
Review Score: 9.8 out of 10