We Love the City
The latest offering from Darren Hayman and the Scottish trio Hefner, We Love the City is a nicely compiled group of songs that definitely leave the Scottish hills in its wake in order to get absolutely bolloxed in an English pub. Unfortunately, the effect is probably a little more sobering than the band intended. We Love the City contains a couple of bonus videos, and the band dons the most amazingly surreal skin-colored body molding outfit (members flailing and all) for the video of “Good Fruit” that makes Blink 182’s unfocused streaking look like the adolescent teeny-bopper trash it really is.
We Love the City is actually a concept album dedicated to the city of London, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, as the album tends to suffer from being a little too serious, over-drab, gray, and bleak, mirroring more the London weather than the more subtle sense of anything wry, cynical, cutting edge, or characteristically London-cool.
The album begins to try the ear a bit when it seems overly chorused pub-anthems begin to replace actual songs, and although they don’t start busting into “Football’s Coming Home” or your standard Arsenal chant, you almost expect as much. The peppiest song is probably “The Day That Thatcher Dies,” and I don’t think the band is trying to be ironic, which may or may not be disturbing or ingeniously comic, depending on how you view the band.
Even when Hefner tries to “rock,” the harder songs are infused with organs, accordions, or other melodically dilapidating synth noises. “The Cure for Evil,” and “Painting and Kissing” are good tracks that tend to separate themselves from the pack. Despite its setbacks, We Love the City is a generally good album that is a lot deeper than a lot of low-fi indie offerings out there. But with such a deep field of English music out there, providing the only solace from a constant infusion of Christian death meta American ‘butt-rock,’ stepping out of the pub and choosing Hefner over The Doves, Grandaddy, Idlewild, Teenage Fanclub or the Bluetones seems unlikely.