While Hefner debut Breaking God’s Heart saw Darren Hayman stick rigidly to a lo-fi framework, refusing reverbs, second takes or any other studio tricks, by the third full-length outing it was time for Hefner to stretch their legs. The charming indie-skiffle was clothed in warm, multiinstrument arrangements, backed by the disarming vocals of twee-pop stalwart Amelia Fletcher, lending an atmosphere reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian circa Fold Your Hands Child, and all resulting in a wonderful record. The album is more structured than previous efforts and, arguably, represents the high point in Hayman’s songwriting, particularly on The Greedy Ugly People, Painting & Kissing, The Greater London Radio and The Day That Thatcher Dies.
This third instalment in the top-notch reissue programme of Hefner’s back catalogue maintains previous high standards. The original 12 songs are expanded to a two-disc package of B-sides, remixes, alternate takes, 4-track and studio demos, weighing in at 39 tracks. Those fans who switched off when Hefner upped the recording budget will enjoy the skeletal demos in this generous slew of extras. Listen out too for the delicate “first version” of Hymn For The Telephones.