In A Million Years
11 Track, LP (2012, Dew Process)
Related: Last Dinosaurs.
Last Dinosaurs’ full-length debut is fixated on time. “In a million years when we’re older/Finally we can be part of history,” sings Sean Caskey on opener ‘Zoom’. The older ‘Honolulu’, first heard on a 2010 EP, talks of the future; while the closing ‘Repair’ mentions the change of seasons. All this musing about impermanence is set to Strokes-style guitar interplay between Sean and his brother Lachlan, which combines with the production to somewhat overshadow the songs.
There’s an awkward union between the Brisbane quartet’s jangling guitar-pop and studio effects that aim to deepen the music but only dampen it. There’s a natural sprightliness to the band, who range in age from 18 to 22 and formed in high school five years ago, but much of that is lost in the mission to make an outsized, festival-friendly album. Produced by Last Dinosaurs with Jean-Paul Fung – who worked as engineer to Scott Horscroft on Little Red’s Midnight Remember and Birds of Tokyo’s self-titled album – and mixed in England by Eliot James (Two Door Cinema Club, Kaiser Chiefs), In A Million Years cranks the guitars and revels in whooshing atmosphere.
‘Zoom’ begins at a remove and then comes in (yes, in a zoom) with synchronised guitar leads. There’s a Phoenix-y lightness of step, a pop-punk edge to Sean’s vocals and some guitar shrapnel and a conscious lift towards the end. It adds a lot of heft to the EP’s sound, but as the songs roll on with more busyness and an emphasis on packing a commercial punch, they thicken into a delirium of slick hooks and pat choruses. It feels like a huge record already, success-wise, but that’s about it.
If the album can often feel like the same song on repeat, ‘Sunday Night’ and the Nicola Tesla-citing ‘Time and Place’ reserve the bridge as a place to experiment. The charming latter is straighter and simpler pop, with a singsong-y call-and-response chorus. ‘Andy’ then pairs tropical tinges and clean jangle in a dance-inviting fashion similar to Friendly Fires, but it’s cluttered and goes off the tracks along the way.
After the quick centrepiece interlude ‘Satellites’, ‘Weekend’ goes right back to the oiled hooks, although it gets around to pure catchiness a bit late. The weakest moment here is the flimsy raucousness of ‘I Can’t Decide’, while the plodding ballad ‘Used to Be Mine’ again lets the production get in the way of what should be a fairly simple transaction. Its mention of history feeling “fucking boring” comes off like a whinge. Much better is the rippling ‘Honolulu’, which refreshingly sticks to its hummable pop strengths.
Heralded by Beach Boys sighs, the promising ‘Repair’ proves another same-y tune given a botched makeover. It ends In A Million Years with a chasm-sized trailing off, which fits the album’s weighty preoccupations but also doubles as a dead end.
by Doug Wallen