Dusted Magazine

One of pop's great historicizing claims is the re-evaluation of a pop musician to an artisan creative: the hysterical flash in the pan (cf. T. Rex) becomes, through time, not just a cultural barometer but an exalted artist. It's always been an intriguing way of dealing with not just the meaning of the pop song, but its socio-cultural impact as well, the way one song brings a world to bear upon it.....................

...........As with the last few High Llamas albums, Talahomi Way is as much about the lyrics as the melodies, and here again O'Hagan draws on flora and fauna, building and architecture, travel and migration, and itinerant artists making their way through the day, to tell an unfussy story of the warmth of the commonplace. (For some reason, this also resonates with '60s/'70s British folk – I am left thinking of Vashti Bunyan's pilgrimage to the Isle of Skye, or the Incredible String Band's retreat to Glen Row.) And like Beet Maize And Corn (2004) and Can Cladders, it features artwork by Jeremy Glogan, painting what looks to be a modernist, utopian beachside venue with curving roof and rails, and open-to-the-world glass walling. Much like the album it houses, it's free and welcoming, and idiosyncratic without being noisy about its "difference." This strikes me as nicely analogous to The High Llamas' greatest achievement: their ongoing, articulate and subtle working of avant-gardism into effortlessly essayed pop songs. It's a body of work that begs deep listening, the better to divine the wild kindness at its core.


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