Vinyl LP £18.49 DC469
LP on Drag City.
While Burt Bacharach lamentably collaborates with Ronan Keating, the (relatively) young pretender to his melodic soft pop throne Sean O'Hagan is back with another album of High Llamas textural gorgeousness. Its hard to believe that it was almost 15 years ago that his majestic double album 'Hawaii' was released and though his work from then on whilst always stunningly pretty he never again reached those conceptual heights, I am delighted to announce that this album is an absolute aural delight. Basically its the sound of a breeze wafting in from the ocean on a hot summers day in some faraway resort. The music is made up of gently plucked nylon guitar melodies, overlaid with stunning strings and gentle parping horns. O'Hagan's thin voice isn't his strong point but his words are always interesting, eschewing the usual ruminations on love etc for a more impressionistic stream of Van Dyke Parks influenced wordplay. The ghost of Parks' one-time collaborator Brian Wilson is never far away, recalling the understated meanderings of the Beach Boys 'Friends' album, someone (me?) once described The High Llama's career as an attempt to write The Beach Boys 'Cabinessence' over and over again (a great idea by the way) but these days O'Hagen's sounds are much more gentle, understated and laid back almost to the point of becoming background music. I guess this is the only criticism - that its often a bit too whimsical and neglects to include the type of devastating melodies that would make O'Hagen a household name but ah feck it, I love this music, I could listen to it for the rest of my days.
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