We Love The City
Hefner grows older and more sophisticated on We Love The City, something which felt somewhat inevitable after a couple of exuberant releases and a collection of rarities. Musically, the band sounds far more comfortable in the studio, adding whizzy production touches and horn-section flourishes without being self-conscious about it at all.
Ironic, because if there’s one thing songwriter Darren Hayman is good at, it’s bringing self-consciousness and awkwardness to a boiling point. We Love The City continues the Hefner lyrical tradition of providing you with copious amounts of misery before giving you all the reasons for putting up with it. “The Greedy Ugly People” is typical, making a strong point for love being the point where it all begins to fall apart and come together.
While I’m not much of a lyrics person — typically I’ll notice the music three or four spins before I pay attention to what is being said — Hayman’s knack is quite unique. It’s easy to sound heartbroken and unfulfilled, dificult to do so without coming off as whiny and pathetic. After Hayman unburdens his heart for a full four minutes or so, I feel like buying him a drink and inviting him out to spend a weekend in the country; anyone else would probably have their disc sail clear across the room in the first 30 seconds. The band ably keeps up with this melancholia, chirping pop hooks and small guitar shuffles in the best Scottish tradition (viz the Delgados, Captain America/Eugenius, etc.). Special guest appearance by Amelia Fletcher (on “Hold Me Closer”).