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The High Llamas: Talahomi Way

B

High Llamas

Album: Talahomi Way
Label: Drag City

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High Llamas albums don’t come much purer than Talahomi Way, a set of songs that sees the UK avant-pop veteran act extending one lyrical idea at a time through vamping and pastiche. Since reducing the band to occasional rather than ongoing status, singer-songwriter-producer Sean O’Hagan has refined what a High Llamas record should be: roughly a dozen songs, around 40 minutes long, stitched together from repeating fragments of strings, woodwinds, and soft percussion. Nothing too grand—more like a Sunday drive with no destination in mind. Talahomi Way does have an arc of sorts, though it’s a loose one. The album opens with the gently drifting “Berry Adams,” a character sketch about a man lost in thought; toward the end, on the harmonica-laced “A Rock In May,” O’Hagan and company sing about being hungry and tired as a long day closes. Then Talahomi Way wraps with “Calling Up, Ringing Down,” a bossa-nova slow-dance that doubles as a lament for people who’ve passed through and gone. The record is both a journey and a respite: an opportunity to disappear for a while and return feeling refreshed.