Nutshell Album Review: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs – Trouble
There is always a strong argument that is heard against the validity of any fads. Whether it’s a clothing style, musical genre, or form of entertainment, the nay-sayers are always sure to be loud about their opinions. That holds true with the ever-growing techno and dance scene in the music industry today, with some crying out that it takes less (if any) talent to create electronic music than other genres. Some of the Negative Nancy’s may go back on their word, however, once they feast their eyes (and ears) on Trouble. The debut album by English electronic artist Orlando Higginbottom, better known by his stage name Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, has been said to have some “true substance”. Trouble, which was released last month, is definitely something special in the eyes of fans of DJ’s and indie bands alike.
The album is started with “Promises”, a dreamy undertone with bass heavy beats and tones reminiscent of a wooden xylophone mashed on top of it. There are also small additions of square bass and synths to fill out the sound. Higginbottom’s trance-inducing vocals take control during the title track “Trouble”, with a simplistic, yet effective beat. The trend continues in “Shimmer”, a nearly 5-minute track that includes hypnotizing loops that can’t be compared to anything except the song title itself. “Household Goods” is the follow-up track, which brings back the xylophone tones and laser noises heard earlier in the album, and add an arena-worth house drop with overpowering synths and rattling bass. “Your Love” continues the dance heavy first half of this album, with another strong emphasis put on Higginbottom’s calming voice. “You Need Me On My Own” changes the tone of the album, with a more indie feel and keyboard riffs comparable to the early work of Phoenix.
“Panpipes” has a tribal and experimental sound to say the least, with an odd but strangely attracting combination of loops and percussion. It is followed up by “Garden”, Trouble‘s second single and one of the notable tracks. The vocals on this track are 100% captivating, those of both Higginbottom and Luisa from Lulu and the Lampshades. The album is then taken over by the amusing “Solo”, a song with many aspects heard repeatedly throughout the album and one of the weaker vocal performances of the record. “Tapes & Money”, another favorite off of the album, has the power of most European club techno mixed with the innocence and relaxation put into a Chromeo album.
“American Dream Part II” is an instrumental made specifically to invoke turning up your speakers full blast and dancing like nobody is around. The song features heavy bass and loops, and it makes the one of the longest tracks of the album turn repetitive very quickly. “Closer” is what comes next, one of the mellower tracks of the album that never reaches an overwhelmingly powerful level. This is continued through “Fair”, an even quieter track that includes little more than a synth undertone with vocals on top. The album is closed out with “Stronger”, a song that makes me think of Chain Gang of 1974’s work on Wayward Fire. A synth bass is the basis of this song, with Higginbottom’s lulling vocals giving us one last hurrah.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaur’s debut album, Trouble, was nothing to overwhelmingly amazing. The album became simplistic and repetitive towards the end, which was really upsetting after a strong first half. But that strong first half, mixed with the unarguably spot-on vocals and sheer force of the album still keeps it at an 85/100. I hope that Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs continues on long past Trouble, but in the meantime you can pick it up today.
- Househould Goods
- Your Love
- You Need Me On My Own
- Tapes & Money
- American Dream Part II