20 years ago, on 7th July 1998, the first Hefner LP was released, it garnered some great reviews, ensured the band were to become one of Peel’s favourites (they had 5 entries in 1999’s festive 50!), and cemented their reputation as Britain’s largest small band.
NME – “truly independent, unassuming and painfully honest: the sound of thin, white indie dukes in spectacles.”
Melody Maker – “heart-skeweringly astute” combination of “grimly sweet lyrics and delicate, tentative tunes.”
Time Out – “awe-inspiring in their naked honesty”
More recently, the album was number 25 in Pitchfork’s 50 greatest Britpop albums, above A Northern Soul (Verve), Fuzzy Logic (Super Furry Animals), Vauxhall and I (Morrissey) and Tellin’ Stories (the Charlatans).
Breaking God’s Heart now gets the essential 20th anniversary vinyl re-issue, accompanied by some shows where Hefner frontman, Darren Hayman, will play the album in full Here’s what Darren has to say about the record now: Breaking God’s Heart is an awkward, over confident start to my career. I have yet to get to grips with it again properly in preparation for these anniversary shows. It’s so far away in my past that I have some difficulty in relating to the person who made it. Mostly when I hear it I’m just amazed at the confidence, and possibly arrogance, I had then. I insisted on mostly first takes being used, vocals being recorded live in the room with the instruments, a ban on any reverbs or ambience being used. It was like I was trying to sabotage my career at the first hurdle. Many of those decisions were based on half understood, interviews with my idols from the American Lo-Fi scene but I really didn’t know what I was doing. It does make a bizarre and caustic record though, and I know there are plenty of people who think this is my best work and I never got back to the blunt energy of these recordings. I do see their point.
Quotes – Hefner’s is a bedsit world of spindly guitar and towering passions; of skewwhiff ideals and surprisingly smooth melodic surges; of awkward outbursts and slow-burning lo-fi for lovers… ‘Breaking God’s Heart’ is all about sparkling melodies, twinkly-eyed poetry, intimate confessions, a thrillion knowing references to sex, soul and sadness and the sort of chipper attitude that says: ‘This is a record you will relish for years to come’. So save yourself time, start treasuring it now. 8/10 NME
Hefner are running on the same rock-not-rock fuel as early Violent Femmes or The Modern Lovers, and like those groups are expert at building emotionally charged arrangements by adding or subtracting at precisely the right time. 8/10 Drowned In Sound.
FORMAT: 700 12″ black vinyl albums, full colour inners, full colour sleeves + download code.
The Sweetness Lies Within
The Sad Witch
A Hymn For The Postal Service
Love Will Destroy Us In The End
God Is On My Side
Another Better Friend
Love Inside The Stud Farm
Where It’s At Is Where You Are WIALP058