Like some unseen beast that emerges only in shadows to claim its prey, indie rock stalks Miami with as much Omaha, Nebraska soil between its toes as sand. Four-piece Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs and their compatriots in Blue Moon, both from Miami, do their absolute best to channel Bright Eyes but come up with soulful tunes in spite of themselves. All you Connor Oberst-haters out there might be in for a surprise.
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Certainly song titles like Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs' "Delphinium's Lament" and "December as It Descends" reveal, for better or worse, exactly where the band is coming from in gory detail. But in terms of lumpy, raw-but-not-contrived-to-be-raw song structures that emerge as catchy tunes, it's a safe bet you'll find yourself singing along regardless of your allegiance to the Nation of Omaha. Acoustic guitars establish a groove, and vocalist Joey (that's right, just Joey) won't crack your nerves with the cracks in his voice, instead maintaining a pretty steady grip on melody, again apparently in spite of himself.
It's puzzling that the Blue Moon bandmates also willingly offer themselves up as Miami sectarians of Oberst's worldwide cult, as they inject healthy doses of Robert Smith and Latin-inflected acoustic punk for a colorful, enjoyable, and rather original blend. Saby Reyes-Kulkarni
Whatever Happened to the Dinosaurs