History has rarely been so engaging. Fête-rock: the movement starts here.
Ex-Hefner member Darren Hayman follows up April’s ‘Four Queens’ and last year’s ‘The Violence’ – about queens and the Civil War-era Essex witch trials respectively – with some updated versions of 17th-century folk songs. The concept may conjure up images of plump men in braces drinking real ale at a fête with other plump men in braces, but having edited the raw material, rewritten the lyrics and stamped his trademark cracked vocal vulnerability all over the basic material, ‘Bugbears’ ends up sounding like a stellar Darren Hayman album. ‘The Contented’ and ‘Impossibilities’ are like Hefner at their best, while ‘Seven Months Married’, with its warm acoustic strums and tale of a corrosive arranged marriage, is the kind of engaging, unfurling yarn that the 42-year-old has made his own since going solo. History has rarely been so engaging. Fête-rock: the movement starts here.