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Darren Hayman

Cortinaland CDEP

ex-HEFNER. Cortinaland is a new 5 track CD EP by Darren Hayman, former songwriter from the bands Hefner and The French. The songs are kind of folky, guitar led tunes and a deliberate return to the sound of some of his older records. According to Darren himself, "having spent a few records dealing mostly with synths and drum machines it was good to come back to guitars and drums afresh". And the result is perfectly-twisted pop which leaves the listener begging for more. There's something about Darren Hayman's songs that make them seem homely, sincere and relevant The reason could be that he has the perfect recipe for composing pop, added to the fact that his combination of tender irony and everyday absurd romanticism just hits the spot. "She never really was a dirty slut" he says in "Crissy M", the third track of the fabulous "Cortinaland" EP, and the hilarity of it strikes as you realize that 'she' is Crissy Moran, a well-known porno actress. The strangely compassionate but nevertheless quirky lyrics first unveiled their charm in Hefner's debut, "Breaking God's" Heart (Too Pure, 1998), brilliant and unexpected, fun, simple, and guitar-based. A year later, "The Fidelity Wars" followed the same music path and added to the bands' rituals (using simple, colourful pictures as album covers or composing hymns with such diverse themes as alcohol, cigarettes, postal service, the things we never do or any friend deemed worthy of such a homage). In the next two years, "We Love the City" and "Dead Media" announced changes in the British trio formed by Hayman, bassist John Morrison and drummer Antony Harding. The situation was resolved with Dan and John forming "The French", which gave birth to "Local Information" (Too Pure, 2003), and reflected the duo's intention to make a more dance-based pop, featuring synthesisers and ambient effects. But as usually happens with solitary composers, our man never abandoned his classic heritage. And he proved it at his greatly applauded solo concerts during 2004 and 2005, where he has managed to offer a number of moving performances armed with an electric piano and an ukelele alone, sometimes with a single guitar. Without realising, Mr Hayman has been giving our some clues about "Table for One" a new LP that has been in the making since January 2004 and will see the light of day soonish. In the meantime, "Cortinaland" is a good header for his return to the roost; it is has been produced as an EP for Acuarela (which also released the now classic "The Hefner Heart" in 1998). Again, he has made good use of the keyboards, and the production is somewhat more elaborate than in Hefner's easrly tracks, while the artists' most immediate world is showcased once more. "Leave Your Shoes On" not only jokes about the famous Tom Jones' piece, but also about Darren's erotic preferences. "The Light in Her Room", recorded a day after the tribute to John Peel, for which Hefner briefly reunited, includes the collaboration of Antony Harding and "Crissy M", well... we've already spoken about her. "Little Democracies" tells us about he confusion of being a left-winger in a country where labour is led by Tony Blair, a "A Different Kind of Me" closes the EP and anticipates the possibility of a parallel project. Summarising, guitars, pianos and ukeleles point toward Hayman's earlier work, but there is also the added value of his present vision. A real pleasure indeed. Track list: Leave Your Shoes On, The Light in Her Room, Crissy M., Little Democracies, A Different Kind of Me. OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
item # 20088
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