An outstanding debut album that's been a long time coming.
Ele Beattie 2012-06-08
Us Brits have always mixed a tradition for stiff upper lips with a flamboyant love of dressing up. From traditional Morris dancing to the unsmiling Queen's Guards; to the astronaut, deep sea diver and dead rock stars found queuing politely during festival season: we're all suckers for organised fancy dress.
Cue Orlando Higginbottom, the mastermind behind Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Since the 2009 release of his debut EP on Hot Chip member Joe Goddard's Greco-Roman label, his initial homemade green pyjamas/all-in-one dinosaur outfit has blossomed into an over sized chieftains headdress and subsequently a resplendent glitter-covered frill of a Triceratops.
Flanked by two female dinosaur dancers, balloons and confetti cannons, there's not a stiff lip in sight at his live shows; but pinned beneath the amusing aesthetics there is a discipline with which he approached the production of this outstanding debut album.
As the carnivalesque nature of his concerts suggests, TEED's philosophy is not to be taken too seriously. Amongst a sea of steely electronic producers, the relaxed freedom with which he flits between styles is a practice within itself. Long-term fans might be disappointed with the inclusion of previously released tracks Garden and Household Goods, but they serve as reminders that his slick take on smart pop could rival that of Simian Mobile Disco or LCD Soundsystem, and that he shouldn’t be marginalised as simply a dance act.
Yet equally, his positively uplifting rethink of classic house tones on Stronger and Your Love have been picked up by house honeys from the Crosstown Rebels and Hot Natured camps, whilst the tough-edged garage-cum-techno of Solo or the tribal minimalism of Panpipes could end up in the most adventurous of cross-pollinated DJ sets.
A long time in the making, Trouble was brewed slowly due to a fixation with crafting an electronic album that would stand the test of time. In an age when albums can get lost within folders upon folders of mp3s, it's tough to predict the future. However, being born to a choir master and raised on his big brother's jungle and DnB, TEED's well-honed approach to rhythms – plus an unexpected twist of including his own fragile, imperfect vocals – has already separated him from the throng. Add to that his costumes and desire to stir the muddy waters of electronic music and he's not just a 21st century entertainer, but also a bit of a radical.