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Talahomi Way

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iTunes Review

As anyone who has followed the career of Sean O’Hagan can tell you, he lives to find the subtle spaces in the music to pour in his love for the Beach Boys, Van Dyke Parks and Burt Bacharach. Talahomi Way is O’Hagan’s easy listening album. It features bossa nova beats, airy woodwinds and strings that evoke Nelson Riddle as much as anything by Parks. The album is a beaut. If anyone has a right to the music of the Mad Men era, it’s a careful scholar like O’Hagan, who with Microdisney, Stereolab and the High Llamas has explored this terrain with authority. “Woven and Rolled” has a horn section adding brightness to this mix of acoustic guitars, strings and halting beats. “The Ring of Gold” strolls past with a spring breeze that reminds one of the glories of stereophonic recordings. There’s a slight rockabilly twinkle to the light and fluffy “A Rock In May.” The album is packed with retro-surprises. But it suffers not from a nostalgic eye. O’Hagan is merely exploring a genre that has yet to be exhausted.

Customer Reviews

Another Amazing Album from O

I downloaded this album from iTunes the day it was released a couple of weeks back, and I wanted to give it some time before I wrote something on Talahomi Way. I expect a lot from Sean O'Hagan, and he does not disappoint. The songs feel like each one belongs on this album, but each one is unique, which is more than the vast majority of musicians can claim these days. Who else but O'Hagan can incoprorate a flute, banjo and organ (among other instruments, including his excellent voice, which provides a certain tension in the music) and create such beautiful, yet catchy, music? Fans of the Llamas will recognize the nautical and tropical references that have been common in recent albums. His lyrics, as usual, almost always leave me clueless as to their meaning, which is mildly annoying insofar as I really want to know what the songs' lyrics mean and why he wrote them. Then again, it's probably none of my business.

Two other points: Firstly, I recommend listening to this and all Llamas albums with and without headphones. Headphones provide a depth of musical intricateness and texture that is easily missed without them. O'Hagan and his crew obviously know how to play music, and it is a real treat to hear some of the finer points in their playing. Secondly, if you are new to the High Llamas, this is as good an album as any to begin what will be an amazing listening experience. In fact, I would argue that it is the ideal way for a newbie to listen to the Llamas, which is contrary to what I would recommend for just about any other artist.

It's been a while since we've heard from the High Llamas. Talahomi Way has made the wait more than worth it.

Spoon This Album

DAMMIT! There’s so much good music coming out right now! I just appreciate the time taken to place these violins and tinny little synths to make me chill so hard I fall through the bottom of the couch this weekend. Don’t sleep on this. Buy it, put it on, and maybe take the greatest nap you’ve ever taken or wake up feeling smarter and take one more step towards only talking about the things you like this year. This is the medicine.

High Llamas best in a while. JUST GET IT

Just go ahead and download this if you are already a fan of the HL's or just love gorgeous, chill music. Beautiful stuff.


Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although the High Llamas are nominally a group, they're pretty much the brainchild of singer and guitarist Sean O'Hagan. O'Hagan did some time in the London-by-way-of-Dublin band Microdisney, in which he was the songwriting partner of Cathal Coughlan. After Microdisney split in 1988 (Coughlan forming Fatima Mansions), O'Hagan released a couple of import-only solo albums before forming the High Llamas. The Llamas issued their debut, Gideon Gaye, in 1994 to high praise in the British press; it was...
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