The Dynamighty No.3: Darren Hayman

January 17, 2011

I loved the rush and clatter of Hefner and their confessional lo-fi sweetness, and more than 12 years later I’m still listening to what their former lead singer is doing. The sound has become more focused and folkier as the ideas have become more conceptual (Essex Arms, his latest album, is the second of a trilogy about the eponymous county, and he is currently writing a song a day for the wonderful January Songs project). But for me, the constant factor of his varied songbook, or at least the aspect I still find so affecting, is the breadth of remoteness: the rueful, loveless cowboy in his “ramshackle stable” (Hymn For The Alcohol), the fourth man on the Moon overwhelmed by the earth’s beauty (Alan Bean), the teenage bandmates “singing songs about boys that they hate/ Into some dented SM58s” (Amy And Rachel). Or maybe it’s not the remoteness exactly but the way it’s obviated, taking characters who are unknowable or unbelievable at the outset and making them as real as you or I by the end of each song. The anger, joy, or confusion you may have experienced at some point will also have been felt by another person, in another place. This is what great music can convey with immediacy, and this is the peculiar brilliance of Darren Hayman.

Here he is, doing what he does best: creating his own world from scratch…

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