As the son of a professor and choir conductor of New College, Oxford University, Orlando Higginbottom (real name) might not seem the most likely aficionado of playful retro house. But under the guise of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, he’s gained a reputation as one of the most exciting live dance acts on the festival circuit.
Indeed, his downbeat tones, reminiscent of Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor at his most sorrowful, and lyrics about his lack of success with women may present an introspective and introverted soul, but his stage show is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum.
Surrounded by spectacular lasers and female dancers (“but not in a sexy pole dancer way”), Higginbottom has become renowned for performing his impressive one-man-band shows wearing the kind of costumes (dinosaur tails, huge handmade head-dresses and feathered wings)that are so flamboyant they make Lady Gaga look shy and retiring.
Co-incidentally, it was a remix of the meat dress-wearing superstar’s 2011 single, “Marry The Night,” which gave Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs his most high-profile gig to date, having already put his own spin on tracks by Katy Perry (“Firework”), Professor Green (“Monster”) and Sugababes (“Denial”).
Before that, Higginbottom, who chose his ‘unfashionable’ moniker because it could therefore never fall out of fashion rather than due to any particular fondness for the Jurassic period, had channelled his love of old-school club music on several E.P.s released under Joe Goddard’s Greco-Roman label (All In One Sixty Dancehalls, Prehistory), and has since gone on to collaborate with Damon Albarn on the DRC Music Project and sign a major label deal with Polydor Records.
Released earlier this year, his debut studio album, Trouble, is the kind of dance record that aims just as much for the heart as it does the feet. There are full on floorfillers such as the turbo-charged electro of “Household Goods,” the euphoric diva-fronted house of “Your Love,” and inventive excursions into the worlds of bouncy 2-step garage (“Promises”), 80s R&B (“You Need Me On My Own”) and dancehall (“Panpipes”). But there are also moments of pure melancholy, from the ethereal almost a cappella “Fair” to the ghostly kaleidoscopic synth-pop of “Shimmer” that are more in keeping with his bookish background.
The name may be utterly ridiculous, but Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ intelligent brand of quirky electronica is anything but.
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/zgPIhGKNado” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>