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Hefner - Breaking God's Heart

A Deadly Sin
by: bill aicher

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I thought it was just a legend, or old-wives' tale.

People can be wrong.

It is true - in every reviewer's life there comes a time when one must endure the hardships of listening to, and then reviewing a terrible album. Hefner's Breaking God's Heart was destined to be one of those albums, one with absolutely zero redeeming qualities.

The major problem with this album is Darren Hayman, the lead vocalist. Rarely is he on-key, yet often off beat. His attempts at emotionalilty result in piercing wails of despair. Gordan Gano of the Violent Femmes (the whine) crossed with Noel Gallagher of Oasis (the British twist) is an ample description, provided it is knocked off-key by about a half step.

The band does little to save Hefner from being tossed onto the reject pile, at times they actually add to the downfall. The instrumentation is not poor, but it is weak. There is nothing innovative here, it is basically what you will find from any garage alt-rock band - empty guitar chords and hollow snare and bass beats.

Problems pile up when the band backs off, as in ballads such as "Hymn for the Postal Service." During these instances, the song focuses on the vocalist - which was previously alluded to as being a bad thing. When the band is more prominent, there is less focus on the vocals, and more on the mediocre music - which is better than the atrocity Hefner claims as a vocalist.

Just when you think things can't get any worse, the backup vocals kick in. Usually backup vocals enhance the music. Maybe Hefner forgot to go to their voice lessons or they intended dissonance, there must be a rational explanation... All the backup vocals are off-key and off-beat. A combination of off-key, off-beat music and lyrics is just about as bad as it can get. Hefner beats this limit.

Hefner's last hope of redemption is their lyrics. Anyone going along with this hopeful attitude will be in for the final blow. Getting a bucket would be a good idea - this is going to be a rough ride. The chorus to "The Librarian" is "He will never kiss her eyelids" which basically means he will never get to get it on with the librarian because "his efforts were in vain." The genius behind "Another Better Friend" lies in "I don't want to get laid, I just want to be held in her arms." Keep in mind that this is a ballad (very little band) and it has major backup vocals (off-key and off-beat).

Hefner succeed beautifully in failing. They have failed as artists as well as musicians, and this album is proof of that. A cheap ripoff of Brit-pop and American despair, Hefner are destined to become part of the big rubbage heap in the sky - for breaking God's heart is one of the greatest sins of all.

Review by Billy - billy@music-critic.com

Artist Hefner
Album Breaking God's Heart
Label Too Pure
Date 11.03.98

1.0 out of 5.0