Words by Taheera Washington
Image: Yumeno Gardens by Last Dinosaurs
The indie-rock Australia-based band, Last Dinosaurs, released Yumeno Garden in early October, ending the three-year long hiatus since their last album. Coming from the Japanese words yume, meaning dream, and no, meaning of, Yumeno Garden can be directly translated as “Garden of a Dream.” With enchanting, Japanese-rock influenced instrumentals that establish a dream-like atmosphere, the band managed to amplify that meaning with the 9-track album.
Being released on July 4, almost a full four months prior to the releasement of the album, it was perfectly timed to become an anthem with its nostalgic vocal delivery followed by a cheerful guitar that practically screams summer. The guitar solo midway became a highlight for the song, and it’s also a career highlight for lead singer, Sean Caskey. According to a interview conducted by Genius, Caskey's brother Lachlan usually handles the big solos for the band with it being one of his first guitar solos, according to an interview conducted by Genius, since most of them come from his brother, Lachlan Caskey. The rebellious flare of the chorus sparked minor criticism from fans with many comparing the track to the sounds of Tame Impala and The Strokes. With that not necessarily being a negative critique, “Eleven” is a standout piece in the discography of the band.
One of the more angstier songs, “Dominos” speaks about the domino effect of anxiety that occurs when bad things happen in life. While the message is one that many can relate to, the repetitiveness of the chorus can become whiny after the third time before the bridge happens. This track, like “Eleven”, was released before the album was, being used to define the album. However, in comparison to the rest of the tracks on the album, this is one of the less complex songs that seems to be more of the band’s attempt to appeal commercially.
3. “Bass God”
Taking inspiration from the urban slang Based God, meaning being positive and not caring about what others think, Last Dinosaurs use this theme to push forward the notion of being content with your life and distancing yourself from the materialism that infests the world. With the usage of distorted vocals, the band manages to push the happy-go-lucky theme even further without coming off as overwhelming, just reminding the listener to “not worry all the time about everything.”
Full of percussion and synth sounds, this is an experimental sound for Sean Caskey that works. The unconventional ballad with hints of vaporwave within the melody fulfills the sullen disposition of having to the best thing that you ever had; the main hook - “I just want you to be happy” - serves as a bitter declaration from a heartbroken lover who is trying to come to terms with the ending of the relationship. The moody nature of the song is only heightened by the atmosphere created with the vaporwave 80’s mixture alongside Sean Caskey’s raw vocals full of underlying hurt, making this song a standout for me personally. Even though it strays from the main sound Last Dinosaurs produces, it furthers their musicality and originality by taking these unconventional risks for their listeners.
5. “Forget About”
This track encompasses the pitiful side of love in three minutes and 45 seconds. Telling a story of a boy who sees that the relationship is slowly beginning to end and fade away as his feelings aren’t reciprocated in the way they used to be, Caskey’s vocals make you feel guilty as if you’re committing a crime with a sense of pleading and compromise dripping from every lyric. Being right after “Happy” makes the tune hit harder with the melancholic mood already set, making believe that if it weren’t right after “Happy”, then it wouldn’t have the same impact on first listen.
6. “Italo Disco”
The story behind this tune will break your heart if it hasn’t already; in an interview with BeatBefore, the song recounts lead guitarist Lachlan Caskey’s vacation in Florence with his girlfriend at the time. The day after he began to create the main chords for the track, his girlfriend and him broke up after a relationship of five years. Knowing that, the lyrics of memories in Italy are more realistic and tangible rather than just being a story. Furthermore, the title of the song is a music genre that was popularized in the late 70’s in Italy that featured songs with heavier synths while using the disco mold. While Last Dinosaur’s rendition doesn’t feature a disco feel, there are similarities with the synths which is a nice nod to the now dead genre.
7. “Everything Relative”
Last Dinosaurs are not afraid to take risks, as seen with the otherworldly sounds of this track. An intergalactic synth fills the empty space of the first couple of seconds before the hypnotizing riff of the guitar accompanies it. Sean Caskey’s voice, normally fuzzy, becomes as close to being robotic as humanly possible. The song, while on the shorter side, is one of the more lyrically-heavy tracks. “Everything Relative” highlights the naiveness of young people and the lack of care that is presented through their thoughts and actions. The disheartening repetition of “it’s all going to end” serves as a cold reminder that the feeling of being on top of the world will come crashing down eventually, making it easily become a favorite for its lyrics alone.
8. “Shallow Boy”
The theme followed with the lyrics of this song is unique; the tune follows the stereotype that follows Parisian culture with subtle nods to certain landmarks and French diction like “bourgeoise” or “Venus de Milo” to compare that materialistic, trivial sense that we typically equate to Parisian people to a boy that holds those same attributes, yet still somehow is attracted to it. Being one of the more fun pieces on the album, it feels lighter than a lot of the other songs, and it’s one goal is to make you vibe, which it completes within the first verse before the chorus even hits.
9. “Non Lo So”
In Italian, this phrase means “I don’t know”, which is the perfect title for a song that expresses wanting to form relationships with others but being able to do so, and feeling like you’re stuck and utterly confused. For the last track, it has an impact. For starters, the structure of the song is more complex both melodically and rhythmically; having a climax that leads to a void silence that feels as if it’s going to drop into a heavier percussion sound only for it follow the airy, whimsical and almost ditzy sound. This track also has the best guitar solo on the entire album towards the end, which fades out to complete the album. It compresses the complexity of youth and romance as a disoriented moment in many people’s lives, and it’s the best way to end an album that discusses and contemplates on the tribulations for young people.
In all, Last Dinosaurs made their presence known despite their drawn-out hiatus. For the most part, every song has a purpose in conveying the narrative of what it means to be youthful with their purely whimsical and fantasy sound that doesn’t disappear in any of their work on this album despite the differing genres experienced and combined into the tracks.
Message from the Editor: Watch this Music Video, its hilarious and a lot of fun!