The High Llamas

Buzzle Bee

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It's probably critical overkill to point out that the High Llamas are the prime inheritors of the lush soundscapes that Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach perfected (each in his own way) during the '60s and early '70s. On the other hand, it's also abundantly obvious that the English quartet never seems to tire of mining Bacharach's hits and Wilson's masterworks -- namely Pet Sounds and the SMiLE album -- for new ideas. Buzzle Bee might just be the group's most out-there production yet, as the Llamas churn out eight tracks full of gorgeous symphonic pop arrangements and aloof, lazy melodies that dart in and out of all kinds of studio tinkering. If this is, in fact, something Wilson and Bacharach would have made, they would have had to have made it while under the influence of some very potent psychedelics. Still, too much of it sounds like background buzz, the sort of stuff that Wilson rightly left on the cutting room floor during the Pet Sounds sessions. What would be really interesting is if these guys struck some sort of sitcom-worthy bargain with their heroes: the Llamas would teach Wilson and Bacharach to be hip, if those two would lend the Llamas some hooks.

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