HE’S a man of talents, is Sean O’Hagan. Sometime member or creative force in Microdisney, Stereolab, and The High Llamas, he also turns a neat sentence, too.
We haven’t heard from him musically in a little while, so my ears pricked up at the announcement of this one-off single release, “The Wild Are Welcome”, which celebrates the resurgent activity of the animal kingdom during the human hush of lockdown.
It’s as melodically quirky and luxurious as any tune to leave the pen of Mr O’Hagan, with those characteristic Brian Wilsonesque key changes, and his daughter Livvy steps up on vocals; but oddly and delightfully, it sounds like The High Llamas fed through a modern futuresoul filter – swapping the panama for a silver-visored number, if you will.
Sean says: “This April, the animals were coming back to the cities. I love our wild in London, the foxes and badgers – but then sheep, deer and goats started to stray back into the edges of urbanity, in Essex and on the fringes of Swansea and Edinburgh.
“So I imagined the conversations the animals were having as they acclimatised to the new norm. And of course it flipped the status for the rest of us not in captivity, as we stared out at the wild from our lockdown.
“As much as I have enjoyed the musical landscape that I have explored for 30 years, I want to creep beyond it. I can still drop the chords as I always have but I am enamoured [of] the 2020 RnB experience and here I have found new tools to put records together.
“This is where I am at in 2020: SEAN SYLVESTER DRAKE 61”, he concludes, enigmatically.
“The Wild Are Welcome” is out now on digital download via Drag City: listen at http://seanohagan.bandcamp.com/track/the-wild-are-welcome