Sean O’Hagan: Radum Calls, Radum Calls review – Compelling and quietly triumphant

Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 00:00


Radum Calls, Radum Calls

Sean O’Hagan

Drag City


With Microdisney dead and buried (following a final gasp of breath last year) you could sense that one of that band’s co-founders wouldn’t take too long before he siphoned his solo sensibilities into an album. That this is Sean O’Hagan’s second solo outing in almost 30 years says little about his prolificacy and a lot about his work ethic, which he has applied not only to his post-Microdisney group, High Llamas, but also to a wealth of acts including Stereolab, Mount Kimbie, Fryars, and James Righton (formerly of Klaxons).

That his new material is of a particularly high standard isn’t a surprise – O’Hagan is a recognised master of arranging and production techniques, after all – but what is a surprise is how nimble the music sounds. Across a small number of instrumentals (the best of which is the harp-plucked delight Better Lull Bear) and a slew of songs that bring to mind XTC at their most forward-thinking and delicate, O’Hagan gifts the listener an earful of earthly delights.

Former bandmate Cathal Coughlan pops up here and there to very useful effect, but this is O’Hagan’s gig: compelling, idiosyncratic and quietly triumphant.