A while back, I decided to start ‘Lookbacks,’ a series where I would revisit some albums that have come out in the past few years from musicians or bands that haven’t been too prevalent on mainstream radio or elsewhere. There are some exceptions, as my first ‘Lookbacks’ post featured Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, but what was different about the post was the fact that it outlined Turner’s acoustic solo debut on a soundtrack for an independent film.
Well, ‘Lookbacks’ are back! Every Friday I will be taking a look at some albums that have popped out to me, caught my ear and caused me to wonder why exactly they haven’t taken off.
This week’s first ‘Lookbacks’ features Australian indie rock/pop collective Last Dinosaurs, focusing more on the band’s debut record In A Million Years. The album has held a special place in my collection with its danceable choruses that include a spectrum of both hard hitting guitar riffs and a balance of synth-rock vibes that are impossible not to tap your foot along to.
Last Dinosaurs is based out of Brisbane, Australia and consists of brothers Sean (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and Lachlan (lead guitar) Caskey, Michael Sloane (bass) and Dan Koyama (drums).
The band has gained a large following in its home country of Australia, but outside, at least in my eyes, I haven’t noticed a lot of attention coming out of North America. With so many bands coming out of Australia (i.e. Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, etc) I can understand how competitive the music industry must be out there. In fact, when speaking to Griswolds front man Chris Whitehall, he explained how competitive the scene was.
Regardless, I want to put a spotlight on Last Dinosaurs’ 2012 debut because of one thing: its cohesive rhythm.
Every track on In A Million Years has a different, yet distinct rhythm that catches the listeners ear. The band’s ability to create those unique rhythms just adds to the vocals put forward by Sean Caskey. The guitar riffs by Lachlan Caskey are their own beast.
When doing some research, I saw that a lot of sites described Last Dinosaurs music as ‘dance-punk,’ but I couldn’t disagree more.
If anything, Last Dinosaurs are indie pop, with a bit of rock strewn throughout different tracks. For example, the band’s track “Honolulu,” the song that got me into them in the first place (which was also featured on the band’s debut EP Back From the Dead) is a song that has a bit of everything.
The beginnings of the song itself includes a tropical-like guitar riff, complete with a handclap and a “hey!” from the rest of the band. That overall feeling at first definitely has some pop influences. As we go along within the song, the chorus comes up, and in that chorus we get more toward the ‘rock’ aspect the band has in almost every song.
Does anyone really care about labels, though?
In A Million Years is an album that, although released in 2012, is in my mind ahead of its time. Song after song after song, the album starts out strong with its lead single “Zoom” and doesn’t stop there. Songs like “Weekend” and “Andy” take you to the coasts of Australia, transporting the listener with summer vibes like no other.
The album’s closer, “Repair,” is smoother and more toned-down than what we hear on the rest of the album. It falls in the same category as “Used To Be Mine,” slow and chill with a bit more emphasis on the rhythm of the guitar riff than on solos and hard hitting vocals.
In A Million Years’ follow up Wellness released in 2015, but what Last Dinosaurs’ left with their debut is something that can’t be matched. The album leaves an impact upon first listen, and impact where the listener can listen to the album over and over and over again and never get tired of.
You can stream In A Million Years on Spotify below.