In the Dinosaur Room is an album recently released by Thomas Hopper. The nine-track album is an eclectic album with solid production and good recording quality. Hopper did something I wish a lot more DIY musicians would do. He recorded the music himself and then sent it off to get mixed and mastered. The proof is in the pudding. It sounds great from beginning to end.
It was obvious after my first run through that Hopper had a lot of ideas and it seemed like he indulged them. Some of the songs are certainly inspired and the songwriting is often top notch. That being said the album feels random at times as Hopper goes from one idea to the next as if he wasn’t able to completely conceptualize what it might sound like as a unified whole.
Hopper kicks things off with “Landman” which is certified hard rock with a country flair that is not too far from a band like My Morning Jacket. It’s a dynamic song that from what I could make of it is about the oil business. He sings, “Drive around town looking for blood in the ground / Royalties, contracts, searching for golden black / By land or by sea It don't matter to me / If it's out in the gulf lets make a deal.”
Next up is “Timber Mountain” which is a certified highlight that contains an inspired vocal performance. This song doesn’t have much a hard rocking vibe and felt similar to something you might hear from Super Furry Animals. You can even hear a bit of Pink Floyd in there.
The topics of the songs continue to be esoteric and niche like on “Cartel.” It is definitely about cocaine and cartels. He sings, “Harvester of the white powder why must you slang your yay? Border towns are just a hazard; now watch them waste away All the money that you're after makes your country a disaster.”
“OMW” was the first track that felt just a bit displaced. It’s a sparse, ambient song revolving around the piano and very few lyrics. The next “Blood On My Shoes” starts with an acoustic guitar and vocals. I loved the fills he pulls which were not only technically impressive but aesthetically pleasing. “Cream” hangs low with a bit of punk, attitude and classic rock. It’s another solid tune with catchy melodies and well-written lyrics. “Layers” is an instrumental piece, which Hopper lets go on a tad too long.
Another highlight is “Arm the Radio” which really doesn’t sound like anything else on the album. It’s very mellow, atmospheric and tranquil. He closes with “Hell” which revolves around a lone piano and vocals.
Despite the slightly jagged flow of the album In the Dinosaur Room is one for the win column. Most of the songs are good and there are a couple in there I would consider great.
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