The Last Dinosaur - Hooray! For Happiness

Anthony Page 20/07/2010

Rating: 4.5/5

The Last Dinosaur are an Essex based two-piece who proudly proclaim that Hooray! For Happiness was recorded in their home, often late at night (much to the delight of their neighbours I'm sure), on a 16-track and without a single computer to aid them. When I first read this on the album inlay it got my retro White Stripes garage rock senses tingling and surely I can't be alone? But the question is are The Last Dinosaur Essex's answer to the retro chic of that American duo who commandeered the world's attention for much of the noughties?

Thankfully not. From the first track any ideas like that left my head, as tunes of dark, epic, melancholy, beauty rolled by. Sounding at times like Arcade Fire, Fanfarlo, a less chirpy, cheeky, and frankly annoying, Mystery Jets, Hooray! For Happiness is a revelation - even more so when you consider the nature in which it was recorded. Instead of the sparse, empty spaces you often find with a two-piece, each track has a grandiose, almost Phil Spector style feel to it that many bands fail to find in the studio. Even with the occasional guest on sax, violin, viola or vocals, the full lush sound of this album is a joy to behold, at times making the sort of sound akin to the six-strong My Latest Novel.

The album swaps between instrumental and vocal driven tracks, the former of which share a choppy, experimental, Kid A style, helping keep the album a constant pleasant surprise. The vocal tracks contain echoes of a Mercury Rev epicness to them, or a Sparklehorse somberness, often both at the same time. Indeed, the track 'Be That Boy' may just be one of the most beautiful acoustic led tracks I've heard since Sparklehorse's 'Most Beautiful Widow'.

At times it can be hard writing these reviews, trying to be nice about bands whose hearts are in the right place, but musically just offer nothing. So when the odd unknown gem pops up I love it even more. Hooray! For Happiness is just such a gem - the sort of playful, heart tugging, wondrous listen Fanfarlo failed to offer. The Last Dinosaur lack their level of hype and press attention but deserve your love so much more because The Last Dinosaur could warm even the most jurassic of hearts.

Release date: Out now