If O'Hagan's previous tastes in arrangements -- using strings, vibraphones, banjos -- tell us anything, it's that he apparently started out preferring flourish to foundation. So while much of 1996's well-regarded and umpteen-tuned Hawaii was beautiful, the arrangements were so friction-free that a straightahead cover of Nick Drake's "Chime of a City Clock" sounded about as tough as something from Richard Thompson. Yet the Llamas just might have a weightless wonder in them somewhere, and Snowbug could be it. Even the highest-flying kite or balloon needs someone on the ground to hold the string, something O'Hagan seems to have realized. Throughout the release, solid melodic themes are present -- armed, of course, with strings and horns as light as pool toys. And the Llamas' multi-percussion keeps the vibes, electro-burbles and harpsichords floating ahead at all times. Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier and Mary Hansen add some girth by singing on a couple of tunes, perhaps to return the favor for O'Hagan's appearance on Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night. Fixing a hole, indeed.