Monday, October 24, 2016
EP Review :: Tiny Dinosaurs - Awake
October 21 2016 (Tiny Dinosaurs Music)
Words: Richard O’Hagan
Tiny Dinosaurs is (or are) French-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Julie Jay and ‘Awake’ is the first of two promised self-released EPs, each featuring five tracks and all mixed by legendary producer James Frazee (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr).
It is hard to see exactly what Frazee did to earn his dollar here, because the focus is very much upon Jay’s voice and gentle acoustic instrumentation. This is no bad thing. Jay’s songs have a pleasant air of earlier bands such as Shelleyan Orphan about them and her singing is at times so fey and ethereal – such as on first single ‘Shut Out The Light’ - that making the sound heavier would almost certainly make her even harder to hear.
That’s important, because one gripe about this record is that Jay so very often fails to enunciate her words properly. Closing track ‘Insomnia’ has a strangely beautiful refrain of "If I sleep I will die before your eyes" running through it, but half of the time you just can’t hear the second part of it, which both ruins the effect and is actually rather annoying.
Another issue is that the lyrics, when you can hear them, tend to be rather trite. Current single ‘Sit and Stare’ is a case in point, as Jay rhymes ‘the fair’ with ‘golden hair’ and also waffles on at length about letting her heart bleed. There are certainly styles of music where the words don’t matter so much, but in this kind of alt.folk genre it is as much about what the singer is saying as what they are playing; if you can’t be heard part of the time and, when you can, you’re not saying anything very much, then you have something of a problem.
This is a promising start from an artist who clearly has a lot of talent. No-one gets things spot on the first time around. Tiny Dinosaurs is/are (we’re still never quite sure how to word this when a solo artist is pretending to be an entire band!) definitely worth a listen and we’re hoping that the second EP is even better than this one.