1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 276

Campaign, by Tyrannosaurus Alan
Suggested by Alex Hamilton

As far as band names go, Tyrannosaurus Alan is pretty damn special.

I mean, it works on so many levels. There’s the juxtaposition between the inherent majesty in the king of the dinosaurs, against the workaday mundanity of, well, the name Alan. Personally, the best part of the name isn’t the dino moniker, it’s the simplicity of the Alan. Bands have come and gone sporting Jurassic names, such as T-Rex, Dinosaur Jr, Mastodon and more, but naming your band Alan? Who does that? I’ve got the Alan Parsons Project and that’s it. Clannad is close, but no cigar.

Apparently, the band are named from a character in a stop-motion animated advert for Volvic mineral water. It’s on YouTube, go check it out.

So, loving the name… but will I love the music? Is it in the modern style, or is it pure crusty Cretaceous?

Tyrannosaurus Alan are an irreverent seven-piece ska/punk/rap band hailing from the steppe plains of Kent, bringing a heddy mix of upbeat jazzy bouncing tracks and shouty pouty vocals. They’ve one album, their 2010 release Campaign that I’m reviewing today.

There are a few genres of music that feel over-represented in this project. I’m sure this is entirely down to the voracity of individual suggesters carpet-bombing the Masterlist with bands and albums of entirely similar hues, maybe coupled with a touch of Randomiser bias. There’s a host of Hip Hop, a gaggle of Growl, a plethora of Prog, and a slathering of Ska/Punk.

All this is fine, in and of itself. But the constant barrage of cookie-cutter acts does make writing fresh reviews a little tough. What can I say about Tyrannosaurus Alan, that hasn’t already been said about The Filaments, Streetlight Manifesto, Jaya the Cat, The JB Conspiracy, Mad Apple Circus, Tokyo Ska Paradise and more? And how will they ever measure up to Fishbone, my de facto favourite? I guess all I can do it compare and contrast.

Tyrannosaurus Alan are a fun and frolicking outfit, utilizing their horn section much more effectively than the too-punk Filaments. Their punk-style rapping is decent enough, but a little more manic than the mannered snarl of Jaya the Cat’s Late Night Transmissions. As for their songwriting, it’s driven and layered enough, but it’s not a patch on the polish of Mad Apple Circus or the infectious Tokyo Ska Paradise.

For a standout song, I’d plump for Futures, although Bombard the BBC runs it a close second. In truth, every song has merit, wit and energy, so fill your personal boots as you please. The problem is that I’ve an embarrassment of riches in this particular wheelhouse, and I can’t see Tyrannosaurus Alan usurping the Big Guns any time soon.

I rate Campaign as a passable 6/10. As with many of the bands mentioned above, they’d be a corking live experience. Unfortunately, they are officially extinct, after disbanding in 2012. Ah well, not to worry. There’ll be another band just like them along any minute.

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