The High Llamas

Can Cladders (Drag City)

Sean O’Hagan’s High Llamas have been grazing the narrow field of ’60s revivalism for years – it’s 13 since they released the album that’s widely seen as their masterpiece ‘Gideon Gaye’ – so it’s fair to say that they’ve got their thing down. If you’re unaware of their work, The High Llamas deal exclusively in gently strummed chamber-pop with listless vocals and lyrics that skate on wafer-thin ice over a huge abyss of twee (“We say hi to the rivers and the mountains!”). A nagging voice in your head might whisper that this is music for people who drive ’60s cars, eat retro food off ’60s melamine plates, only buy vintage clothes from second-hand shops and so always smell faintly of cat piss and 40-year-old fag ash, but tracks like ‘Bacaroo’ and ‘Sailing Bells’ deploy the sort of lovely string arrangements that sweep you off your feet and have your knickers on the floor before you even notice your cold bits. Damn them.

Emily Mackay