Album Review: The Last Dinosaur – Wholeness

By Live4ever - Posted on 02 Nov 2020 at 8:08am


Slightly ahead of the curve when released in its exploration of the complex relationships between creativity, art and mental health, The Last Dinosaur’s 2017 album The Nothing was a labour of more than love for its creator Jamie Cameron, as he confronted the traumatic personal legacies of both a friend’s sudden death and his parents’ unhappy divorce.

What should however have been a cathartic unburdening proved merely to be a plateau; Cameron soldiered on, but laden still with masses of emotional backwash, beginning even to doubt the validity of his work despite the blanket praise it had received, and considering seriously a withdrawal from music completely.

At twenty-six-minutes long, Wholeness doesn’t signal much beyond a toe being dipped into the icy, sometimes hellish waters of a new decade, but working with his usual collaborators – Rachel Lanskey (viola), Luke Hayden (piano) and Lewis Daniel (woodwind and brass) – Cameron still shyly offers up fragments of what’s made his work so cherished in certain quarters.

Even given the lack of time to spend with it, there’s seemingly no rush. Opener Wholeness And The Implicate Order unfurls in its own space, leaving a filmic residue of orchestral swirls and typewriter keys being caressed, while In The Belly Of A Whale is a single piano phrase under Amy Acre’s inflectionless spoken word notes about the energetic weirdness which survives only in true friendships.

Despite the feeling that you are trying to catch something always outside of your grasp, there are moments here of intense, wonderful beauty. On Spirit Of The Staircase, both the ethereal and the earthbound meet in some chamber far away from the grey light outside our dirty windows. It’s a prologue also to the almost as equally blessed Untitled Piece For Piano & Viola, while Errant Child’s intimacy – a song by a son for a mother – is as naked as when any of us first come into the world.

There are some hazy precedents here – The Blue Nile, Ólafur Arnalds, Bon Iver – but for an introvert Jamie Cameron seems to enjoy creating things that will inevitably make people want to know him better. Wholeness is an acknowledgement that a human’s state is always temporary and mostly random, whilst at times exponentially breathtaking.

A mind indeed is a terrible thing to waste.


Andy Peterson

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