"Yes Brian Wilson is still alive and his name is Sean O'Hagan" is pretty much the summary of what you'll read here and there about the man behind the High Llamas.
Partly true, but there's a lot more to this great musician.
When it comes to crafting impeccable melodies and arranging them in epic yet tasteful ways, no one beats O'Hagan. It's true the man has definitely cracked what made 'pet sounds' such a brilliant album and given his own interpretation of the formula times and times again since the early nineties, refining it at every iteration, including this one.
However if you're new to the band, Talahomi Way may not be the best introduction. Look into "Hawaii", "Beet, Maize & Corn" or "Can Cladders". These ones are probably best to get what the High Llamas ambition is all about: not being the beach boys of the 21st century, but giving a European point of view about a mythical America of the 60s (just have a look at the titles of the songs, they speak for themselves). It's not about reality, but how you wish reality could be like. Just more elegant, more stylish, more precious, more dream-like. That's the magic of the High Llamas, and they push it to the point that you believe it could be true.
Now, if you're already familiar with the High Llamas, of course with Talahomi Way you'll be in familiar land. But it's clear that Sean O'Hagan's recent collaborations with Tim Gane (from Stereolab) on a few soundtracks have had an influence on the Llamas sound. It's become more cinematic than ever. The earlier albums were a collection of great pop songs, the most recent ones, and especially this one feels more like the soundtrack of an imaginary film, where each song is a story connected to the previous and the next one.
That's what Talahomi Way brings to the discography. It's film music in disguise. And that's why it's so great again.
On a side note, it's well worth checking the very interesting interview that O'Hagan recently gave to Sock Monkey Sound podcast (April 6, 2011).