The High Llamas

Gideon Gaye

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Sean O'Hagan has obviously done his Brian Wilson homework, listening to all the albums the Beach Boys recorded between Pet Sounds and Surf's Up. Cheeky references to cuts like "Let's Get Away for a While" and "Surf's Up" pop up from time to time on this lush set, which takes its cues from both Wilson's most melodic and most eccentric qualities (though the ten-minute flute solo on "Track Goes By" does this to excess). It's an impressive outing that sounds like little else in the alternative rock world of the mid-'90s. But it only establishes O'Hagan and his various pals as charming emulators, rather than true innovators.

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