The High Llamas

Santa Barbara

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Often passed over in the the High Llamas' canon (even the liner notes of the reissue go out of their way to reassure that things are a little rough), 1992's Santa Barbara is nevertheless an important formative record that will please and interest many admirers of the band. There's an emphasis on pre-acid house English pop ("Market Traders"), Out of Time-era R.E.M. ("Put Yourself Down"), and an orchestral touch that would reappear later in albums like Cold and Bouncy. "Period Music" pokes out with verses lifted from XTC and a closing, layered, almost dream pop refrain, but non-fans may wonder about the band's bored and serious approach toward Byrds-ian acoustica.

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