It’s one hell of a trek from Brisbane to Berlin – but Last Dinosaurs have emerged from the Sunshine State’s bubbling indie scene to capture the hearts and ears of listeners across the world.
Having scored heavy rotation on Triple J and a Top 10 spot on the ARIA charts with their 2012 breakthrough album In A Million Years, the band then toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia for three years. They accumulated a wealth of knowledge and memories locked away in their mental vaults, before stepping back into the studio to record their sophomore effort Wellness.
While musical and emotional growth is expected when heading on the road for an extended period of time, their collective energy has been their most notable evolution – resulting in Wellness becoming their most distinguished and proud body of work.
“I think we have refined our energy more than anything. That connection between the crowd and us became a lot stronger as we grew as a touring band… Now we have a better idea of what we think is cool and we have come closer to something that is cooler. Lots of feels on this album that are a bit deeper,” they said.
Last Dinosaurs headed south to the sleepy Central Coast in New South Wales to record the project at The Grove studio. They recruited producer Scott Horscroft (Silverchair, The Presets, Empire of the Sun) for the album, and his legendary portfolio brought a wealth of experience to the young band.
“Scott is a genius. He has the perfect blend of scientist and artist in him. It’s just inspiring watching someone who’s a master at his craft weave his magic on your work,” they said.
The band took two months of much-needed downtime at the “lush and serene” studio with Horscroft to clear their minds for this latest creative endeavour.
“It’s like a secret haven. The Grove has a really professional but comfortable vibe. We played lots of badminton, ate heaps of chocolate and drank lots of booze. It was like being on a holiday in paradise and going in to do daily tracking. That place just had such a comfy vibe, we were able to settle in over the two months and focus on recording good takes,” they said.
The seaside nonchalance of the region shines through on Wellness, which delivers the band’s pop sensibilities with youthful vigour and endearing eccentricity. This is something that fans have experienced already, with lead single ‘Evie’ being unleashed in May and earning 100,000 plays on Soundcloud to date.
With chirpy riffs, sunset solos and a bassline that drives you straight to the dancefloor, it’s instrumental pop at its shimmering best. The band’s sense of humbleness and relatability are two of their strongest traits, describing the track as an anthem about the “idea of having that naive optimism for something desired but unattainable.”
It’s this fusion of upbeat instrumentals and emotionally saturated lyricism that creates a dichotomy of sorts on Wellness – and ultimately its most fascinating triumphs. The lively percussion and silky guitar work on ‘Karma’ provide a backdrop for Sean Caskey’s impassioned crooning, where he pleads “Oh keep me in your flame, or burn me it’s the same, we’re never gonna win.”
Lyrically, Caskey notes that Wellness is a little more sporadic, written in the moment and on the road. Still, his personal stories of fleeting romance are filled with the endless contemplation and hypotheticals that resonate with all listeners.
“To be honest, I haven’t actually sat down and thought about everything I said. Even though so much effort and deliberation goes into every single word, a big part of me doesn’t listen to what I’m saying, because I have to detach myself and say it’s all fine, otherwise I’ll get nothing done. I find it all too personal even talking about it,” he said.
Title track ‘Wellness’ takes you on a slow-motion sonic journey through space, before you’re grounded and put onto vast stretches of vacant roads by the lingering guitar lead of ‘Stream’. The final pensive track ‘Zero’ finds Caskey admitting, “I need to know how to find my soul” – making this album a journey of self-discovery for both the artist and listener.
With the slick musicianship and fragmented storytelling that shines ominously on Wellness, Last Dinosaurs have created a brave and brutally honest album, and are set to place themselves at the forefront of homegrown talent once again.
Now holding solid international touring experience under their belts, Last Dinosaurs’ headline shows on the ‘Evie’ tour will bring Wellness to life in all of its melancholy glory, with the band showing their flair at intimate venues across Australia. The ‘Evie’ national tour, which took in five states across the country, sold out in Sydney and Melbourne in less then 72 hours, with Brisbane and Adelaide following suit within a week. This tour was then followed by an appearance at the illustrious Splendour In The Grass festival in Byron Bay.