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The High Llamas: Cecil Sharp House, London

Nick Hasted, Independent, The, 22 December 1997

WITHIN EARSHOT of London Zoo's lions, inside the splendour of the English Folk Song Society's walls, Sean O'Hagan is trying to raise a ghost. A guiding light has wrestled with this phantom before. It's the spirit of Brian Wilson he needs. Last year, he tried to summon that spirit from the husk of Wilson himself, called in to try to heal the Beach Boys' wounds. O'Hagan failed to reunite them in the flesh. So he continues to resurrect them in his music. The first two High Llamas albums reconstituted Wilson's surf-sounds at their most melancholy, strengthened them with a dash of Steely Dan, a hint of soundtrack music. Their next album, Cold and Bouncy, will loosen those shackles. But tonight, the necrophiliac surf still washes over the Llamas.

Total word count of piece: 440

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