The High Llamas

Sunday, 07 January 2007

Sean O’Hagan, indie music’s arranger extraordinaire, applies his unique combination of bouncy plucked bass, vibraphone and lush string arrangements with bold, broad strokes on Can Cladders, the new record from his band The High Llamas. Can Cladders absorbs some of the acoustic meanderings of the previous High Llamas record Beet, Maize & Corn and folds them into a familiar formula of gentle vocals, blue-eyed soul and soft-rock (read yacht rock) leanings. In past records, echoes of Beach Boys Friends-era gut string guitar and banjo textures emerged in the Llamas sonic palate, and the new record is no exception. This Beach Boys’ brand of intimate reminiscence is a welcomed attribute in Can Cladders, which could benefit from even more of the same sentiment. The musical textures and arrangements, which are perfected here to the utmost degree of filigree, sometimes outweigh the ability to draw a listener’s emotional involvement. Ultimately, Can Cladders is a success; offering music that is carefully and meticulously put together, yet feels bright and fun to listen to.

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