New and Notable Releases

Rating: NN

Diversions into squishy electronic beats and Brazilian rock might have helped, but the sad reality is that High Llamas kingpin Sean O’Hagan has been replaying Pet Sounds and Smile over and over again in his head for almost a decade now with no real progress.

Buzzle Bee features a handful of gurgling easy-listening pop tunes and some dreamy interludes. It’s all quite pleasant, and hypnotic enough to get you frequently nodding along. The problem is that it’s an exact duplicate of every other High Llamas record, right down to the throwaway lyrics and the little synth clicks between the notes. What was interesting the first few times just sounds cliched now, and when even his droning Stereolab pals are at least making an effort to try to sound different from record to record, you’ve got to feel sad for O’Hagan.

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