Home Read Classic Album Review: Hefner | We Love the City

Classic Album Review: Hefner | We Love the City

The London outfit might be the sharpest pop craftsmen since The Kinks’ heyday.

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This album came out two decades ago. Here’s what I had to say about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


While everyone has been raving about wistful and wimpy Britpop outfits like Travis and Coldplay, one of the best U.K. bands you never heard has been quietly flying below the radar for the past several years.

I refer, of course, to London’s Hefner, perhaps the smartest, sharpest pop craftsmen since the heyday of The Kinks. I don’t make that comparison idly; singer-songwriter Darren Hayman’s adenoidal midrange pipes often bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Ray Davies. Ditto his ability to weave simple, twee melodies and darkly arch lyrics into bittersweet jawbreakers of pure pop magnificence. Whether he’s eagerly anticipating The Day That Thatcher Dies (“Even though we know it’s not right, we will sing and dance all night”), or singing the praises of London on We Love This City (“because it never loves us back”) or redefining romance on Greedy Ugly People (“Love don’t stop no wars, don’t stop no cancer — it stops my heart”), Hayman proves that sometimes a wry smile is the only thing that can keep you from crying. So do yourself a favour; put down that Coldplay disc and pick up Hefner instead.