The Last Dinosaur “The Nothing” (Naim Records, 2017)

“The Nothing” is the long-awaited follow-up to The Last Dinosaurs’ debut album and it is evident from the outset that, that time has been well spent. The record opens with the short, gentle acoustic track Atoms accompanied solely by the whispered vocals of the front man and brainchild, Jamie Cameron, and a beautiful string arrangement to add some depth to an otherwise sparse track. The opener is a good indication of the overall sound of the record in terms of the musicianship and the themes explored throughout and second track Grow takes that formula and builds on it adding drums and another whispered vocal. Grow is a steady-paced song which builds beautifully throughout and ends almost abruptly, albeit with a stunning string arrangement leaving it feeling almost half-finished however, the strings fade out and when they come back in, we are treated to the first of a number of instrumental tracks which wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack to a film.

This point of the album, is where The Last Dinosaur really find their feet and get more creative with their sound after the stop-start nature of the beginning of the album. Standout track All My Faith is a delicate acoustic song showcasing them at their songwriting best with gospel sounding harmonies, light percussion and the inclusion of piano which really brings the song to life. The interesting thing about the track is that it somehow manages to sound gloriously epic whilst still maintaining the same sombre feel as the rest of the album. We’ll Greet Death sounds slightly out of place when compared with the vibe on the rest of the album and although, creative in the sense that it uses a different formula to other tracks on the album, it feels a bit too far from the cohesiveness of the rest of the album and strays just a little too far from the path. The Body Collapse on the other hand, is another masterfully crafted cinematic tapestry which serves as an interlude into the latter half of the album and a return to the more refined formula evident throughout the album. The album then reaches its climax with a triple dose of instrumentals, the haunting The Water, The Sea and the closing track Goodnight and although the latter two are not technically instrumental, the vocal delivery of Cameron is even more subdued than before and it is used to create more of an atmosphere as an instrument – an uncommon technique and one which is used here with perfection.

Overall, ‘The Nothing’ is a wonderful record that will transport you to another place due to the carefully crafted songwriting, the depth in the music itself, the tender vocals, deep lyrical content exploring life, death and grief and the overall cinematic sound as a whole. The sheer talent on display throughout the record is undeniable; most evidently in the rich soundscapes which move the listener as much as the lyrical content of the songs themselves. Musical escapism at it’s finest.

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