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Buzzle Bee

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 14, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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. ~ Christian Hoard, Rovi

Amazon.com

For many, Sean O'Hagen--the bright-eyed retro-pop connoisseur who's recorded since the early '90s under the tag of the High Llamas--has never topped the elaborate 1994 psychedelic masterpiece Gideon Gaye. Like close contemporaries the Boo Radleys, there's a lingering suspicion that O'Hagen is a desperately undervalued pop voice, but it's difficult to herald Buzzle Bee. With guest backing vocals from Mary Hansen of occasional collaborators Stereolab and all the retro psychedelic influences fixed in place, O'Hagen's muse shows signs of being irritatingly inflexible. While this doesn't quite bring the Bacharach-gone-Krautrock space fairytale of "New Broadway" crashing to earth, it does leave this album's more prosaic moments--such as the exercise in easy-listening tedium that is "Sleeping Spray"--trampling through the same old leafy glades without any clear direction. More ideas, please. --Louis Pattison

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Passing Bell
  2. Pat Mingus
  3. Get Into The Galley Shop
  4. Switch Pavilion
  5. Tambourine Day
  6. Sleeping Spray
  7. New Broadway
  8. Bobby's Court


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 14, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Drag City
  • ASIN: B000051763
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,394 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's High Llamas Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I don't get it. Everyone here is looking for that same old catch. Not as good as the old stuff? Each album is like a new band, with new tastes and ideas. Didn't anyone see the hidden meaning behind "The Passing Bell" where Sean O'Hagan clearly refers to laying down at the foot of the rye, and also the cover of the album is much alike to an old printing of the novel, the catcher in the rye. this is possibly thier best album. the fact that some of you cant stand a little change doesnt mean this album is bad. its just lightyears ahead of your mind.
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Format: Audio CD
This album has revealed its subtle and magnificent grandiosity. Make no mistake about it, this is a highly ambitious and creative undertaking. This album is a frontier blazer. The first song is the single most beautiful and mesmerizing in the entire Llamas canon. The rest of the album follows suit. Every song is a sprawling work of art. Though it's their shortest album, its the High Llamas album of electronic epics. Yet another masterpiece from a band that is almost unable to create anything but masterpieces. Sean O'Hagan is the most talented and ambitious pop musician in the world right now. And has been for quite some time.
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Format: Audio CD
So,okay, the High Llamas' songs all sound a bit samey. Their lyrics are nonsensical (but, you know, still kinda fun), and their chord progressions (which are admittedly more sophisticated than those found on the average Oasis album) are becoming more than slightly predictable. Yet Sean O'Hagen's ear for harmony, texture, serviceable melodies, and, yes, lush instumentation continues to fascinate, even though we've heard all this before. The High Llamas definitely have carved out their own niche, and fill it nicely. Aping Brian Wilson--arguably the greatest pop classicist of all time--and adding a dash of Stereolab-esque leftfield electro-acoustica is entirely admirable. O'Hagen's melodies could be stronger, and his songs could be more structured (they seem to meander aimlessly at times), but by now, all this is beside the point--which is to envelop the listener in a blanket of exotic pet sounds that will instantly transport him or her to a palm tree-lined avenue in midwinter Pasadena as the thrum of a convertible completes the feeling of dreamy ambience.
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Format: Audio CD
While some fans of the band might consider this a mini album compared to some of their work, what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. This is music that lures you into it's own little world ,beguiling and elegant. It is by now obvious how The Llamas and Stereolab interact and influence each other,but this is definitely a High Llamas disc. Overall this is a gentle ,dreamy collection of songs that like all the Llamas work just keeps opening up and breathing into you.
Highly recommended.
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