While it might seem futile, there’s still a lot to say for artists that continue to relish in the diversity of music. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ Orlando Higginbottom was first noticed with his strong remixes for other electronic artists, like The 2 Bears and pop artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. And while collaborating with a lot of different artists all under one massive umbrella, Higginbottom’s TEED celebrates combining a fusion of styles for terrific results. His debut album, Trouble, is a finely layered and composed breath of fresh air and easily, one of the strongest pop flavors of the year.
The success was brilliantly set up for Higginbottom, too, with the release of five singles to flawlessly lay the groundwork for Trouble’s fourteen sprawling songs. Timely and stealth-like, he floated under the radar before exploding with the album’s fantastic array of sounds. Songs like “Solo” rejoice in a house-heavy beat and dance synthesizers that prepare a thumping beat; others like “Household Goods” are even more substantially grand with more of a house vibe and this time, massive huge walls of sound. The way the album is sequenced certainly helps, with songs placed in and around a steady flow that never ceases.
And instead of employing the same trick onto every single song like many other electronic acts often do, Higginbottom employs a controlled demeanor that showcases both towering, soaring sounds and tremendously catchy melodies. On “Garden” he takes a lonely, shimmering melody that highlight’s the beats rapid exposure and after the verse, he deploys a counter melody by way of the synthesizer that fantastically work together. The song is directly in the middle, where it contrasts the way “Promises” starts, with its atmospherics waves. Also like the beginning of “My Girls,” with the way the sounds gel in, “Promises” takes the first minute to gather its attack before showering a hard-hitting, percussion-filled interlay on top of it all. These are much more than just dance-floor ready techniques, these are fully functional songs that branch out into variously different, strategic textures.
The remixes sound as if they’ve benefitted from Higginbottom’s care and now, his own music is adorned with smart, rightfully-presented touches that give the music an ever-changing feel. On “Closer,” Higginbottom does his best Radiohead (circa Kid A/Amnesiac) with a heady, enveloping collection of electronics. It’s both mysteriously ominous and delightfully moving; it’s also highly influenced by the dubstep that Burial first created with Untrue. Fourteen songs deep, each and every one is a terrific slice of electronic pop that definitely delivers astounding results. The music on Trouble is a refined flavor and with TEED, Higginbottom sounds as if he’s just getting started. Cliché as it may be, it feels as if he’s just started the trouble, and with the mighty potential on this debut already remarkably conveyed, there is bound to be a lot more in future years to come.