This album was a mystery to me when I picked it up. There weren’t any identifying features to who created this album, no band name and no title (which might be different in the general release, I guess). The front cover shows a pair of arms changing into a tree and a face just visible across the skin of the hands.
This is ‘The Nothing’, the second album by The Last Dinosaur, the brainchild of London-based Jamie Cameron and his music college friend, Luke Hayden.
As the first song begins with a cut-back, lo-fi acoustic guitar and distant and distorted vocals, you immediately enter a delicate and cobweb-filled dreamscape of whispered dictaphone tapes, strings, bells, saxophones and gentle elements.
The album documents a cathartic journey for Jamie as he faces difficult memories from his past through this collection of songs, with life, death, regeneration and peace being prominent themes through this album that was written and recorded between 2009 and 2016.
The lyrics are beautiful. The second track, ‘Grow’ repeats a chorus of ‘wrap me in foil, plant me in soil’. There is true soul here, more than can easily be communicated in words, but it shares much in common with Bon Iver’s delicate first album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ with added flourishes reminiscent of Sparklehorse and Sufjan Stevens, but these are unfair comparisons, in many ways, as ‘The Nothing’ is simply its own thing.
The vocals are frequently pushed back into the mix and layered in various levels of distortion, that keep the listener away from direct observation of verse and instead allow the listening of an emotional whole.
The stand out tracks for me are ‘All My Faith’, with its refrain of ‘You will be loved, you will be loved’, and the powerful ‘We’ll Greet Death’. There are also instrumental tracks, each comprising a mix of various instruments including violas and saxophones.
Heart breaking and beautiful, ‘The Nothing’ provides plenty of emotion that will stay with you long after the album has stopped playing.