The Last Dinosaur – Wholeness – Album Review
by Killian Laher
The Last Dinosaur is the musical project of Jamie Cameron, whose 2017 album The Nothing crept its way quietly around discerning ears with a warmth that made it one of the albums of the year. This follow-up is poles apart from its predecessor. To use a Talk Talk analogy, if The Nothing was the semi-mainstream The Colour of Spring, Wholeness is a leap into Spirit of Eden/Laughing Stock territory. There are no catchy melodies or distinctive choruses found here. Instead we get a whole different kettle of fish.
At a mere 26 minutes long, this album is a statement in itself. It opens with the austere, orchestral Wholeness and the Implicate Order. It’s a jazz-tinged piece, reminiscent of the Bernard Hermann Taxi Driver theme. It builds to a dramatic flourish, with Luke Hayden on piano, Rachel Lanskey on viola and Lewis Daniel on muted brass before the sound of electricity pylons takes over for the last minute or so. It’s followed by In The Belly of a Whale, a brief recital by Amy Acre concerning vegetarian chicken over ambient rumbling and snatches of piano. Shower Song features faintly strummed guitar and Cameron’s whispered vocals, as the traffic drives by, joined by a gradually swelling viola.
Spirit of the Staircase opens with a stark piano line accompanied by some indistinct ambient scratching, pleasantly joined by woodwind and keyboard to fill out the sound. Untitled Piece for Piano & Viola is a gorgeous work, probably the most pleasing to the ears, with another fine performance by Lanskey on viola obscuring some muttered, whispered vocals. You’d be inclined to go deep with this one, to listen to it over and over, crawling inside the track. It’s baffling and wonderful in equal doses. Errant Child has Satie-like piano and frail vocals from Cameron. If it resembles anything, it’s Mark Hollis’ solo album. It is impossibly brief at two minutes. Final track The Wheelbarrow is a slightly warped, drift, piano and vocals just sounding a little… off, but the elements really work together. It’s an extraordinary piece, one to return to again and again.
This is complex music that demands your attention. Jamie Cameron has pushed the sound of The Last Dinosaur to new ground-breaking levels. Definitely one worth seeking out, it’s available here.
1. Wholeness and the Implicate Order
2. In The Belly of a Whale
3. Shower Song
4. Spirit of the Staircase
5. Untitled Piece for Piano & Viola
6. Errant Child
7. The Wheelbarrow
In The Belly of a Whale