Originally released 5th October 1998.
The final single from Breaking God’s Heart, ‘The Sweetness Lies Within’ was released on CD and 7-inch with the b-sides ‘Normal Molly’, ‘A Hymn For Berlin’, and ‘Hello Kitten’, a track as notorious amongst fans for its catchy chorus as for the fact that (in Darren’s words) ‘it is, of course, about wanking’.
Buy The Sweetness Lies Within CD
Originally released 6th July 1998. Re-issue released Autumn 2007
Hefner’s debut was originally released in 1998, but is now available as a 2 disc edition. The new version includes all the b-sides and all the singles surrounding the release, including Pull Yourself Together, the Hefner Soul EP and the original long deleted first singles on Boogie Wonderland. This release also features new artwork and sleevenotes from Darren.
Drowned in Sound Review by Patrick McNally
Hefner songwriter Darren Hayman is probably the type of fella who finds himself lying on his bed covered in sweat, unable to cum as his masturbatory fantasies twist and turn in endless expository scene setting, with accumulated irrelevant detail taking him ever further away from the vinegar stroke. That’s the impression given by the songs on this expanded reissue of Hefner’s 1998 debut album, the first in a series collecting everything they released plus extras. The contents of these two CDs are as hornily obsessed with fucking as a Lil’ Kim brag-track but also constantly worry at the real-world problems around how to get, and keep, a partner. Don’t front; you’ve been there. Hayman writes in the sleevenotes that he’d “gone about two years without a shag” when he wrote these songs and that hallucinatory quality of believing that you’re fit to lie between the knees of angels whilst simultaneously grimly hoping that the librarian stamping your books recognises your inner-beauty from them radiates from this music.
Fitting the tone of his words, Hayman’s voice is glottal stopped and conversational, the music keeping things moving swiftly underneath in a kinda choogin’ motorik — like a folksier version of (then
labelmates) Stereolab. The band themselves describe their music as “skiffle” and whilst I can see where they’re coming from, that now brings to mind the past few years’ slew of unpleasantly sloppy post-Libertines bands — instead, 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. When they want to, like on ‘Love Will Destroy Us In The End’ or 7” track ‘Pull Yourself Together’, they rally a tremendous post-punk
rhythmic drive, which is even more impressive as much of this early material doesn’t have a kick-drum (coz the drummer wanted to get to gigs on the tube — though even minus kick that’s still an impossible amount to carry). At the other end of their spectrum the desolate room-sound piano and measured vocals of the grubbily sad‘Tactile’ deflates the mock-mythic kitchen sink dirtiness of the rest of the album.
From when I first heard this record, sometime not too long after its original release a decade ago, Breaking God’s Heart has been a well that has never run dry for me, that has affected me in times of break-up and new love. Hopefully this reissue programme will mean that these songs may finally get the chance to move as many people as they deserve to. 9/10
Buy Breaking God’s Heart on 2CD
We also have a limited stock of the original CD release.
Or buy the downloads from Bandcamp
‘Love Will Destroy Us In The End’, recorded with the full band double-tracked in stereo, was initially released on CD and 7-inch along with the more downbeat b-sides ‘Cowboy Falls’, ‘Blind Girl With Halo’, and ‘Goethe’s Letter To Vic Chesnutt’ (written by Matthew Hein of New Bad Things).
The first single from Breaking God’s Heart, ‘Pull Yourself Together’ was originally released on CD and 7-inch, featuring the b-sides ‘Christ’, ‘Smoking Girlfriend’, and ‘Wicker Girl’. After becoming Steve Lamacq’s Radio 1 single of the week, the track marked the beginnings of a surge of interest in the band ahead of Breaking God’s Heart’s release.
Originally released March 1998 on Too Pure
Featuring the tracks ‘Flowers’, ‘A Hymn For The Coffee’, ‘Broodmare’ (with Suzanne from Rhatigan on drums), ‘The Girl From The Coast’ (with Scott Acomba on guitar and backing vocals) and ‘More Christian Girls’ (with Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian on organ), The Hefner Soul 10-inch EP marked the band’s first release on Too Pure. Breaking God’s Heart had already been recorded at the time of The Hefner Soul’s release; ‘Flowers’ and ‘More Christian Girls’ were both tracks left over from the Breaking God’s Heart sessions. The remaining three songs were all home recordings.
Originally released February 1998 on Boogie Wonderland, limited to 500 vinyl copies.
Recorded at Cafe Eric in Greenwich, Lee Remick, a particularly personal song, would become Hefner’s second single, released along with the b-side ‘School Girls’ Knees’. The band were beginning to actively gig as a three-piece and recording several demos, many of which remain unreleased to this day.
Originally released 7th April 1997 on Boogie Wonderland, limited to 500 vinyl copies.
A Better Friend was the first single on which both John and Antony played. Signed by Too Pure on 1st May 1997 (the day of Blair’s election, recalls Darren), this single represents the birth of Hefner as a three-piece.
Originally released 1996.
Hefner’s first release, The Devotion Chamber, was really a solo project, although Antony sings backing vocals. Released on four-track cassette, it features early versions of ‘May God Protect Your Home’, ‘The Sweetness Lies Within’, ‘I Stole A Bride’, and ‘You’ve Been Prayed For’, and is long-deleted.