The High Llamas are an Anglo-Irish avant-pop band formed in London circa 1991. The group was founded by singer-songwriter Sean O’Hagan, formerly one-half of Microdisney, with drummer Rob Allum, keyboardist Marcus Holdaway, vocalist Anita Visser and ex-Microdisney bassist Jon Fell. The core group is augmented by vibraphonist Dominic Murcott (since 1998) and guitarist Pete Aves (since 2002), both for live performances and on record. Visser left shortly after their debut album, while guitarist John Bennett was with the band from 1994 to 2000.
O’Hagan formed the High Llamas after the breakup of his group Microdisney. The band initially played in a more conventional acoustic pop style, but after joining Stereolab as a keyboardist, he was inspired to revamp the group’s music closer to the electronic and orchestral sound he preferred. Other prominent influences were drawn from bossa nova and European film soundtracks. Their second album, Gideon Gaye (1994), anticipated the mid 1990s easy-listening revivalist movement, and its follow-up Hawaii (1996) nearly led to a collaboration with the Beach Boys, whose music the High Llamas are often compared to. Since then, the group’s albums have been more electronic and stripped-down.