They may not change your life, these gentle souls of the jangle, but they enhance it just enough to smother life's tensions in a milky balm...

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Boxing Hefner

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Boxing Hefner

They may not change your life, these gentle souls of the jangle, but they enhance it just enough to smother life’s tensions in a milky balm. Which is something of a trademark for lovelorn Peel-kings [a]Hefner[/a], and one which lends this compilation of rarities, radio sessions and live faves a warm |ber-pop bravura.

Like any extended dose of [a]Hefner[/a], the prevailing feeling is one of defeat: an eternal, ill-fated romantic venture wherein lead Hef Darren Hayman, over and over, just can’t seem to get, or keep, the girl. So an acerbic, slightly off-beam strum should even the score.

, with an endearingly wretched sigh straight from Pete Shelley‘s top drawer. The band, meanwhile, straddle, on tip-toes, the very real void between Pavement and Blur, to wit: the torn-edged schoolboy daydreamer ‘Lee Remick’.

Where Groop Dogdrill and Slipknot are busy channelling their angst through wild bluster and machismo, [a]Hefner[/a] just stick their hand up and state – embarrassment levels all the way up to 11 – ‘We hurt. Here’s why and here’s how it should sound’ like it’s the most natural thing in the world to admit weakness. Which, of course, it is.

On ‘Blind Girl With Halo’ Hayman hopelessly croons the clichi: “I bet she’s never met a man who understands her quite the way that I do”. Her loss, possibly.