Release Date: Nov 6, 2015
Record label: Fika Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Darren Hayman is nothing if not prolific. When he’s not releasing albums, or finding presumed lost Hefner 7” singles hidden away in storage, he’s recording his next project. Presumably, whilst Florence is being reviewed and toured (hopefully) the next album is already under way. (If it’s not available by the next Spitalfields Independent Label Market, it’ll be a surprise.) For now though, there’s Florence.
I’m sure it’s a pretty ordinary thing for songwriters to sit around on their holidays and write more songs. Creative types can’t get by without creating – and so drawers sketch on the bus, writers jot ideas while sitting in the doctor’s office. It should be no surprise, then, that the inexhaustible Darren Hayman devised a whole album by himself while visiting some friends in Florence; indeed, on the day that I typed this paragraph, he was out in Kent recording his favourite train for a 7-inch.
Best known for fronting Hefner, Darren Hayman continues the tradition of indie singer-songwriters breathing new life into the hackneyed love song. He achieves this by way of convincing detail (as on Nuns Run The Apothecary and Post Office Girl) or unexpected directness (Didn’t I Say Don’t Fall In Love With Him and Break Up With Him). After many collaborations and assisted solo sets, here he is totally on his own, having put the whole album together on a brief holiday in Italy.
“Florence will be the first album I’ve ever released with no other musicians whatsoever. This doesn’t really seem like a selling point.” Announcing his new album with typically self-effacing charm, the prolific ex-leader of singular Brentwood urban-folk cult icons Hefner (“Britain’s Largest Small Band, 1997 to 2002”) need not be quite so modest. As productive, perceptive and witty as his Essex folkie forefather and key formative influence Billy Bragg, Florence is another excellent addition to Darren Hayman’s sterling oeuvre.