Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (TEED) is the brainchild of a UK gentleman named Orlando Higginbottom, which would make an excellent DJ name. Why he opted out of that I don’t know. What I do know is that those who have experienced or heard about TEED’s live show would expect his full-length debut, Trouble, to equal its sweat-soaked, bombastic vibe that includes confetti cannons, flamboyant costumes, stage dancers, and a seizure-inducing light show. But little of that carries over to the record; instead, we are surprisingly gifted with a predominantly bedroom electro album in the vein of Junior Boys and Apparat circa their work with Ellen Allien, with tiny flourishes of the frenzied dance party TEED has created.
Aside from his over-the-top live show, TEED is a unique entity because his album seems to have received just as much effort as his live act, which stands in stark contrast to the Skrillex and Deadmau5 types that currently dominate the DJ scene. The title track “Trouble” sets the tone and appears to be the seed that grew the LP. Its washes of synths are lush enough to bathe in. TEED’s hushed falsetto floats gently atop the beats, telling mostly tales of heartbreak, like when he sings, “Now you’ve got me messed up/ Please believe me/ Looks like that’s done, you win/ I’ll be leaving now you make me happy/ Uh, I’m in trouble now.”
The album is packed with sad sack romanticism, but it’s juxtaposed with well-crafted, danceable beats. Trouble hits hard throughout first two-thirds of the album, building to the standout track “Tapes & Money”. The track blurs the line between the bedroom and the dance floor with its rippling layers of keyboards, TEED’s vocals, and a chorus of the time-tested line, “Feet don’t fail me now.”
Don’t be fooled by the ridiculous cover art that features TEED in a headdress like some sort of Victorian-era ninja. There is true substance, not kitsch, on Trouble. It’s as much a dance-based record as it is a self-reflective singer-songwriter affair. It’s by this method that TEED’s debut succeeds: He’s added emotional depth to the popular DJ scene, and in doing so, finds its heart.
Essential Tracks: “Trouble”, “Tapes & Money”, and “Promises”