posted January 18th, 2024

High Llamas return today with new single “Toriafan”, a hypnotically grooving pop confection from their upcoming 11th studio album, Hey Panda, set to arrive on March 29th.

Discussing “Toriafan”, O’Hagan notes, "The song is about learning through action and not through the page. It speaks to those with dyslexia. I did not learn well in the classroom. I was a slow reader and to this day learn as a listener and conversationalist. I failed all my exams and worked on construction sites and car factories from 15 to 23. It features vocals from my daughter Livvy, Rae Morris and Fryars, plus a really confusing chord journey that could be Connie Converse but then falls away like Dorothy Ashby."

With this admission in hand, Hey Panda is an extraordinary display of modern pop music-making doubling as a deep listening experience. Hey Panda projects soulfully through an enervating abstract of today’s sound; blissfully exploding open the machinery of the Llamas’ stately melodies and expressive ditties, with drums and vocals hitting different, burning sounds and contemporary production twists pulling the ear at every turn. Sean was opened up by things he heard at sessions he provided arrangements for, as well as sounds listened to by his adult children, so he resolved not to look backward to former golden ages celebrated in former Llamas eras and instead, let it rip! Hey Panda does so with a set of tunes reflecting on multiple levels how definitions change over the course of a lifetime, radiating an optimism derived from the diverse Q&As on everyone's minds today.

Listen to "Toriafan" and stream the above visualizer today; Sean O’Hagan and High Llamas come out swinging with Hey Panda on March 29, available on vinyl, CD and digital!

Artists in this story: The High Llamas