Dinosaur Feathers‘ “Vendela Vida” was one of the first MP3s I received this year. In the middle of winter, Dinosaur Feathers warm sound was a welcome listen. Now, Dinosaur Feathers releases their debut album, Fantasy Memorial and attempts to make a name for themselves just like their esoterically influenced Brooklyn brethren.
Dinosaur Feathers major influence appears to the pop music of the 50s and 60s with some Caribbean elements added in for good measure. “Vendela Vida”‘s most defining element is its snaky Cuban piano line and lackadaisical acoustic guitar strum. “I Ni Sogoma” has a percussive acoustic guitar base only enhanced with the use of claves and bongos. “Family Waves” sounds like a Jan and Dean song with its vocal harmonies and fun, surfy attitude. “History Lesson” could have been played by the Wonders on the That Thing You Do! soundtrack.
Not every Dinosaur Feathers’ song is fun in the sun. “Sleeping In” is like a bad acid trip. It employs the psychedelic sound of the Flaming Lips with the teetering-on-the-brink-of-madness feel of Modest Mouse. The track ends up being the darkest point of the album.
Towards the end of the album, the group starts to indulge in their inner Animal Collective. Annoying loops and blips become more prominent features of the album’s later tracks. “Holy Moses” is the most experimental track on the album but it’s also the least memorable. The grain of pop that all the other songs are built around is seemingly lost in the track. It is slow and plodding; it sticks out on the album like a sore thumb.
Besides a few missteps, Dinosaur Feathers’ debut album is more than formidable. Fantasy Memorial hearkens back to the day when the Beach Boys and Dick Dale ruled the airwaves. There is no way this band should not film a video featuring them playing in Hawaiian shirts on a California beach while girls in bikinis play with a beach ball.