I’ll be the first person to admit that I wrote off Last Dinosaurs a bit too early in the game. It’s not that the Brisbane – and aren’t we sensing a theme here – quartet didn’t have the live chops. On the contrary; during the umpteen times I’ve managed to see them supporting bigger, and often less inspiring bands, the group have managed to dazzle with this amazing twin guitar attack that would make you think that the singer and the guy on his left were the same person. On finding out that Sean (vox) and Lachlan (axe) are actually brothers, they became all the more interesting to this site which is founded on the priciples of creative fraternity. But while Last Dinosaurs had the heart and ‘Honolulu’, which was a pretty great song, what they lacked was a Freaking Unbelievable Song with ten tons of production thrown at it and enough conviction to make doubters like me turn the other cheek. That song is ‘Zoom’, the lead off the group’s very first record and it’s patently, ridiculously amazing.
Back to the guitars, then, because that’s what really draws me in first about this group. ‘Zoom’has them running down the walls and bursting out of the taps, like a bunch of manic hyenas. If you can’t guess the band’s average age by how quickly and delightfully jerkily the whole thing is pulled off then our readership must be significantly older than I thought. Personally, while Australia is still gripped by dark, mood music and delicate balls, to rip out a power riff like the one that defines ‘Zoom’ strikes me as a particularly brash and ballsy move. It’s quick and snappy and all over the fretboard like a boss, and someone’s paid a small fortune in effects pedals to get it to that precise level of Strokes-ian brittle goodness, but Lord is it good. And the measured Attention Deficit Disorder bounces it’s way through into the verse, with the muted rhythm guitar part and drums locking into to a sort of punk-funk arrangement that you know if being steered well but also gives you the definite impression that you could topple at any time. I think the words publicists use for this is ‘giddy’. (As anyone who almost-but-not-really hired me will tell you, I would make a terrible publicist, because I find it hard to sugarcoat stuff that I think is boring.) Also, Sean here happens to have a pretty good Big Chorus voice, too. It’s a mix of Ed from Friendly Fires and Alex from Red Riders. Of course, it’s less jaded than both of those legends, because it’s always sunny in Queensland.
Last Dinosaurs will be joining a raft of my favourite local artists, including The Preachers and Winter People at Secret Garden Festival this weekend, for which I have no costume but a lot of excitement. There will also be appearances from coveted OAD mixtape makers and DJs Frames, Alison Wonderland and Felix Lloyd, so it’s basically like having a living room full of legends. Isabella from The Preachers, who have this week become the feature stars on triple j Unearthed, made a very important point in an interview this week that extends not only to the bouncy, sharpened teeth of Last Dinos from the North but indeed this whole shebang going down this weekend: “Anyone who says the Sydney scene is shit is obviously from somewhere else.” Last Dinosaurs, in fact, are, but their high-energy indie rock hopefully represents a new approach where we dont eat our young and let them run around with guitars for a long time yet.
Last Dinosaurs – ‘Zoom’