Welcome to “Slept On Songs.” In this column you will find recommendations of songs and artists that you have never heard of but will undoubtedly love. Whether it be music released by an unknown artist last week or underrated songs from major artists that passed under your radar, this series will make sure you have your weekly dose of fresh indie music.
Brisbane-based indie rock band Last Dinosaurs exploded onto the indie rock scene with their first album, “In a Million Years,” back in 2011. After establishing themselves with this solid debut, they then released two more records, “Wellness” (2015) and “Yumeno Garden” (2018), in the span of three years.
“Yumeno Garden” was the band’s first entirely self-created project. Last Dinosaurs’ four members — lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Sean Caskey, lead guitarist Lachlan Caskey, bass guitarist Michael Sloane and drummer Dan Koyama — wrote, produced, mixed and mastered the album on their own, living up to their band’s indie character.
Last Dinosaurs’ songs compel listeners to forget everything and do something fun. Exploding with distorted vocals, they are bursting with life and perfect to play at full volume as you and your friends drive to places you’ve never been before. “Yumeno Garden,” especially, is a record full of catchy tunes that you can bang your head along to. Filled with snappy drums and melodic guitar licks, any song on the album can lift your mood.
“Yumeno Garden” opens with “Eleven,” a fast-paced, indie rock rager that registers quite like the music of The Strokes. The song expresses the feeling of living for yourself for once in your life. Its rich and heavily distorted guitar solo ties the song together as a strong opening track. Last Dinosaurs rarely lets the energy fade as listeners move down its tracklist, presenting one lively song after another.
The album’s second track, “Dominos,” fits the vibrant nature of the record perfectly. With a catchy hook and a driving beat, it allows you to get lost in the colorful and sparkling world Last Dinosaurs has generated. Each song on “Yumeno Garden” tackles a different theme but is equally suitable for anyone wanting to take a step back from the incessant struggles of everyday life and dance along to these tunes.
However, a few songs layer contemplative lyrics atop these lighthearted backing tracks, allowing for a more nuanced listening experience. For example, the album’s fourth track, “Sense,” perfectly juxtaposes lyrics about a breakup with dynamic and animated instrumentals. Poignant themes like those of “Sense” give the album an added sense of depth with their perspective and emotion.
“Yumeno Garden” is like spending a day at the beach. The record starts with driving rock anthems signifying the happy, positive energies of the day. But soon, the sun starts to set, and the record slows down to ponder a variety of emotions, such as lost love and acute nostalgia. In particular, the ballad-esque track “Italo Disco” evokes the streets of a small Italian city and contemplates living in a specific moment forever.
The band uses places to represent feelings and people several times throughout the album. “Italo Disco” brings the emotions of nostalgia and yearning to the streets of Italy, and “Shallow Boy” links the city of Paris to a person. These vivid geographical connections throughout the record add a dimension of imagery for the listener.
Altogether, Last Dinosaurs is a special band that makes sure to represent its members’ personalities and stories in its well-written indie rock songs. Its dynamic album “Yumeno Garden” is the perfect companion for anyone wishing to lose themselves in the moment and step away from the stresses of the 21st century.
Editor’s Note: This article is a review and contains subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.