A beautiful collection of songs (going the route of “rare and unreleased”) that is a must have for fans of the band, and a great starting point for those needing to be introduced. At times Hefner goes for the upbeat Belle & Sebastian sound, and other times cracking into a more minimal raw sound. The pop side of punk, but I’m not saying pop-punk, so don’t even think it.
A British snarl curls through the vocals at times, but is able to soften into an angstfully stylish smoothness. Beauty of loss between the notes, but the strength to move on. Lyrical and wavering, the songs sing out to the hearts of us like the teachings of a British folk-punk hero. Some of the guitars shoot through the speakers into a more American familiarity, striking chords that resonate within followers of the inland empire. Simon Joyner comes to mind for me, but with more of a smile. Perhaps a tip of the hat to Richard Hell, and a Jonathan Richman cover does no harm at all.
Beggars Banquet, 580 Broadway, Suite 1004, New York, NY 10012; http://www.beggars.com