Debut lo-Fi indie album ticks all the right boxes, end of year lists domination is on the cards
Tyrannosaurus Dead are possible one of the most interesting and exciting bands around at the moment. While the sum of their parts might seem standard (guitars, vocals, bass and drums), their output is anything but. Hailing from Brighton they are part of a scene that includes the Hundredth Anniversary and King of Cats to name two. Away from the London music scene they have carved out a niche in lo-fi rock. This is all set to change however with the release of their debut album Flying Ant Day.
On this album they have successfully redefined firstly what lo-fi rock album can be and secondly produced a selection of tracks that are not just entertaining, but demand to be played again and again and again and again and again. The album opener is Canada. It starts with an assault on the senses through feedback and a heavy hypnotic riff, then just as soon as you think you have the track worked out, it switches to a clean Pavement-esque sound. Singer (and guitarist) Billy Lowe sings/drawls through the first verse until he is joined by Eleanor Rudge for the chorus. Instead of creating a harmony, their voices merge and create something far more interesting. The juxtaposition of Lowe’s monotone, and Rudge’s sweeter higher register, creates a new voice. If you’re thinking of early Belle and Sebastian, you’re on the right track, but this is more effective. Then the original riff kicks in again, but instead of repeating the first verses formula, Lowe and Rudge continue to join forces and the song heads off in a new direction.
Free Radio Lies is a lot more heavier and faster than Canada, but it doesn’t lose any of the formers charm. This song screams SINGLE, PLAY ME LOUD and makes me long to be eighteen, drunk in the local indie disco and dancing/spinning round joyously with my mates. PHDS is another fast paced track. The instrumentation seems tighter and the bass and drums really propel this one. So hats off to bassist Tom Northern and drummer Rupert Willows. The second half of the song is them stretching their musical muscles.
The album is littered with musical reference points. Daniel Johnson. Pavement. Early Teenage Fanclub and Smashing Pumpkins. dEUS. Sebadoh. But their influences are never pastiche or bastardised. They have taken the sounds they liked growing up and made an album that references the past, but also says something about the present. It’s refreshing for the vocals to be slightly lost in a wave of guitar. While these aren’t simple songs there is an element of simplicity to them that adds to the enjoyment. Each song sounds like it was recorded in a couple of takes and there has been no editing to it in post-production. At times you feel that the tracks will fall over, but they never do as change course several times per track. This brave stylistic decision that should be commended, as the songs take on a fragility that is missing from 90% of alternative songs out there.
There are downsides with the album however. As with all lo-fi albums after a while the sound does start to grate a bit and you almost want something polished, but clocking in at just under 30 minutes, this doesn’t really happen that often. If anything after playing it through, you want to hear it again to make sure what you just heard was correct. This is an amazing album and one I can’t wait hear played live as their sets are nothing short of incendiary! Miss this at your peril!!!!!