Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

Trouble

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While Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs may have found commercial success out of the box with the poppy house single "Garden," the accompanying full-length showed that Orlando Higginbottom was more than a one-trick pony. A cunning blend of pseudo-rave and modern electro-disco, his debut full-length, Trouble, runs over an hour long and is filled with potential hits. The formula is simple and sweet: minimal, hard-hitting retro-fresh beats -- with a special attention paid to subtle synth textures -- and delicate, breezy vocals that deliver bittersweet but precious melodies. In the same way Postal Service paired glitchy electronica with indie songcraft to make it palatable for contemporary mainstream audiences, a danceable tune like "Tapes & Money," with its peppy Snap!-style "Feet don't fail me now!" sample lifted from Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove," has mass appeal, and could appeal equally to house-heads and suburban housewives. Irony often plagues new rave releases, making them seem like no more than campy winks at the past, but under the flamboyant costumes and ridiculous headdresses that the singer wears in his videos, he seems sincere in his art. Higginbottom sticks to his guns and rarely strays from a four-on-the-floor rhythm from one strong track to the next. As consistent as the beats are, they are never boring. Dance music is crafted masterfully, with old flavors like piano stabs, steel drum synths, a Euro-disco hi-hat, or a Detroit techno bassline bumped up against modern software recording trends, like a dubstep wobble or French house instrumentation. This sparkling, streamlined display adds up to great headphone candy, but ultimately it's a record made for booming club speakers.

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