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A High Llamas album is becoming a rare event indeed. Despite this being the band’s twelfth official release, it’s only the fourth since 2003, a rate that’s more due to demand for Head Llama Sean O’Hagan’s arranging and producing skills than any lack of creative impetus.

But it’s also true they’ve suffered from diminishing returns, and their latest record does little to suggest that their easy-listening homage to everything from bossa nova to chamber-pop is capable of being anything more than a pleasant, background hum. ‘Here Come The Rattling Trees’ is lovingly produced, and O’Hagan remains a master at constructing sweet, simple harmonies and melodies.

But too much here comes off sounding like Mike Flowers Pops doing Brian Wilson; the organs, the delicate string arrangements, the lush, vaguely psychedelic air that permeates almost every track don’t so much borrow from ‘Pet Sounds’-era Beach Boys as transplant whole ideas virtually verbatim. If there’s to be a future for this project, he has to figure out a way to channel his influences into something more original and inventive than this.

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