From the first few moments of Wellness, light airy tones float across the record and you feel like you could nearly meditate; the signature Last Dinosaurs upbeat instrumental sound we’re accustomed to jumps on you and squeezes you from the behind like an old friend. It’s been three years since Last Dinosaurs’ first release, In A Million Years, and just like an old pal, they’ve changed a little, but you can’t help still liking them all the same.
The first track of this album, ‘Take Your Time’ doesn’t sound like an opener in the way that it runs straight into it a little too fast – even though there’s a slight build up, it’s only just enough for it to pass as an opening track. I couldn’t really get into this one. It was almost too much at once.
The next tune, ‘Evie’, however, is just a stunner. From the tentative and crunchy guitars, to the catchiness of the track as a whole; it tells a story of a lover in another country and the pain of long distance, but disguises itself with harmonic riffs and a great, sweeping sing-a-long chorus. This track was chosen as the first single from this album and you can definitely see why – they’ve nailed it with this one.
With that in mind, I was a little worried that the next song wouldn’t be able to match up to it’s processor. I mean, they’d set the bar so high with ‘Evie’ only two songs in. But the next one, ‘Karma’ doesn’t disappoint. There’s something about the guitars that sounds a bit confusing, but instead of pushing you away, it draws you in because you want to figure out what’s going on. The only thing is, pretty quickly, you work out it’s another one about, well, presumably this Evie character. Again.
I was really hoping for a subject change in the next track. Although the first three were good quality songs, it starts to sound like a break-up-anthem compilation album at this point. Rescuing me from drowning in a pool of sad songs though, came ‘Wurl’. It’s definitely still about this Evie lady, but it’s more of a ‘whatever, I’m starting to lose interest’ track. Oddly enough, it was refreshing. You start to feel good for the lead singer, Sean Caskey, and the fact that he seems to be moving on. The first few tracks on Wellness could definitely drag you down a bit, so this song was really placed in the right spot.
More or less, the whole of Wellness continues down this road, with the exception of ‘Apollo’ and ‘Purist’ which are nicely placed little flashbacks to In A Million Years. That aside, though, Wellness is definitely a lot less happy-fun-times than their previous release. The subject matter’s a little more deep and a lot less disguised. It leaves you feeling a bit pensive and just really isn’t what you’d expect from a band known for their cheery anthems. But, if you put those preconceived notions of what you thought it was going to be aside, it’s actually a pretty good album. It kinda leaves you feel like giving Caskey a hug though.
Wellness is out now via Universal/Dew Process.