Somehow, despite props from Cheryl Cole, and selling a whole bunch of Nokias, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is still an underground artist. People still talk of him as a knowingly swopped open secret between the initiated. So it’s comforting to hear, then, upon started up Trouble, that even with a potential career-cannoning debut album, the boy has stuck to his guns.
Oh, make no mistake, it certainly experiments. The range of sound, the range of melody on Trouble is truly tremendous. But all that was there before. Mr. Orlando Higginbottom has since the very beginning of this project been snatching genres from across the globe and marrying them with as much dinosaur flavoured celebration as he could muster. He’s always been a bit of a meddler. Thus singles like 2010’s brilliant ‘Household Goods’ (“ ‘Cause I could be the dog to your bone/ …Or something” is still perhaps the finest lyric to so far appear from this decade) and 2011’s (fairly tellingly) ‘Trouble’ sit perfectly comfortably with the new guard; in fact the oldies, despite little if any remastering, sound reinvigorated by the blending.
It’s this history of experimentation that allows TEED to make whatever he wants sound effortlessly his own. Witness the sombre samba rollups of ‘Panpipes’ flowing directly from the synthwave coat tails of ‘You Need Me On My Own’, which itself came marching from the gunsmoke of balearic house banger ‘Your Love’ (replete with 70’s disco-style eponomy). But all are shot through with that androgynous, softly cynical voice of yearning, unmistakeable even when slathered in reverb and pitch twisting; and all are shot through with that uberconfident beat making, an unapologetic four to the floor that continues relentless regardless of whatever tropical/african/detroit stylings are being mussed around on top.
Personal favourite? ‘American Dream Part II’, the harmonic orgasm of an instrumental that earlier this June was released to a suitably neon n’ glitter n’ costume drenched orgasm of a video. If it was a mission statement at the time, it sounds like a cheeky anthem now, surrounded by its playmates. This is what TEED does, and god willing this party will not slow down until the very distant future. I’ll eat my hat if Higginbottom isn’t working with Rihanna in a year or two. He has a grip so complete on everything that makes dance music what it is that he will be – must be – impossible to ignore.
Released on 11th June 2012 by Polydor Records