Dinosaur Planet by MJ Hibbett & The Validators – LP Review

Jeff Wayne has some new competition

Thirty-four years on from the original LP, the musical version of The War Of The Worlds is still filling giant arenas. The chances of this indie-band take on the SF rock opera duplicating that success seem slim, but you never know…

Over the course of 33 tracks, alternative types MJ Hibbett & The Validators recount the tale of an invasion of England by violence-loving dinosaurs from space (they didn’t really die out, y’see – they simply legged it to another planet). As if that wasn’t bad enough, then the Giant Robots turn up…

The writing has a self-aware edge to it, and mines much of its humour from well-observed mockery of SF tropes, as well as the bathos inherent in staging epic events in unimpressive British towns – “The Battle Of Peterborough” will either delight or appall residents of the Cambridgeshire town. Some hilarious mental images are painted along the way, such as dinosaurs dancing the hornpipe (because, as one song explains, “Dinosaurs Talk Like Pirates”). Short dramatic sections link the songs; the acting here isn’t exactly Oscar standard, but that does help to build a B-movie vibe.

True, it’s not exactly the greatest story ever told, and the joke begins to wear a little thin towards the end; one suspects Dinosaur Planet might work better in a gig environment, after sinking a couple of pints, than as a solo listening experience. But MJ Hibbett and co certainly top Jeff Wayne when it comes to laughs and low-fi charm.

Calvin Baxter

You can stream the entire album at the Dinosaur Planet website .

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