Friday, 21 March 2014

Tyrannosaurus Dead - Greatest Hits

Album review by soul1@thesoundofconfusion.com


You'd have to guess there's a slight tongue-in-cheek aspect to Tyrannosaurus Dead deciding to call this album 'Greatest Hits'. The fact that smaller, independent bands such as this London and Brighton-based quintet don't really have what your average musicologist would describe as "hits" isn't really the issue, it's more the fact that these sixteen tracks are more a tying up of loose ends, a bringing together the collection of songs they've released on a trio of labels since 2011. So we don't just get the lead-tracks and most popular B-side and EP material, we get a compendium of everything. That said, most indiepop bands would be proud to release a compilation of this quality as a "best-of" at the end of their careers, so the fact that this is just a few years' worth of scattered recordings makes it all the more impressive.

With a clear penchant for fuzzy guitars and poppy melodies, they're anything but original, but that's not really the point. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather have a set of lovable songs such as this than have Thom Yorke pissing about with some electronic glitches and calling it art. The flying start of 'Buried In The Ground' is like injecting liquid Pro Plus into your eyeballs, and once you're awake, you're not allowed to nod off again. This might be sixteen songs long, with a track length that ranges from under two-minutes to over five, but it zips by, never allowing fatigue to set in. '1992' could be from then; it could be from any time since about a decade earlier, but it's great fun. It's the energy, vibrancy, excellent use of guitars and surplus of melody that make this record tick. We could be here all day discussing each song individually, but many of them are pretty much the same make and model, (barring the more thoughtful dreampop of 'Always Fine' and 'Banner') yet somehow have enough variation so that you hardly notice.

Boy/girl harmonies are given a good airing on songs like 'Misery Guts' 'Matthew' and 'Silver' (and most of the album to be honest); they aim for a more C86-oriented noise-pop approach on 'Oyster Boy You're A Blast', 'Splinters', 'Bed Dread' and the grungy 'Smiling Politely'. Songs such as 'Soft', 'Sadie' 'Lemonade' and the quick-fire burst of 'Dead Body' are just irresistible if this kind of thing is your bag. They have one final dip into more pensive waters for final track 'Pure & Apart' before leaving us feeling much happier than when they found us. It's difficult to decide whether Tyrannosaurus Dead put the "power" into "powerpop" or whether they put the "pop" into "powerpop". We'd have to say it's probably both.



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