FPOP95 Format: CD / Vinyl / Download Released: 04 October 2010

The new album from ex-Hefner man Darren Hayman and his band of folk-rock renegades is their finest work to date

Essex Arms is the third album by Darren Hayman And The Secondary Modern. Darren, of course, is best known as the singer-songwriter of the phenomenally successful and much-loved Hefner, although it’s worth noting that he has now made six albums to Hefner’s four. In the latest incarnation of the constantly morphing Secondary Modern he has gathered together a set of musicians with the chops to do justice to his increasingly complex and mature songs; a tight, tough, but soulful folk-rock orchestra reminiscent of a more urban Incredible String Band or an Anglicized Lambchop.

The second in a proposed trilogy of albums about Hayman’s home county of Essex, Essex Arms is a conceptual piece about the East Anglian rural underbelly. Whereas Pram Town (2009) dealt with the displacement and ennui of living in a new town (Harlow) – and received the best reviews of Hayman’s post-Hefner career – Essex Arms takes the narrative to the countryside.

Buy Essex Arms on CD

Buy Essex Arms on vinyl (with download code)


Or buy the download from Bandcamp for £7


Released August 2006

For such a short career, Hefner were incredibly prolific, but this release proves we only knew half the story. 43 unreleased songs are collected here on two CDs. The songs are sequenced in reverse order, starting with the final Hefner recording session and going right back to 1994 with Darren’s earliest songs, 3 years before Breaking God’s Heart. The CDs also come with extensive new sleeve notes from Darren himself and previously unseen photographs.

Buy Catfight on double CD

Or buy the download from Bandcamp for £7.99.