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Boomkat Product Review:
I've been a Hefner fan for a long time now, since those early 7"s on Too Pure in fact (they were great) and it's wonderful to see this pretty darn ram-packed double cd compilation of unreleased gems from throughout Darren Hayman's recording career. Of course, this is the indie Hefner, not the 'other' Hefner - the jazzy electronic one, that always tended to confuse people way back then. Covered with pictures of ladies in various stages of battle (wahey), 'Catfight' is a surprisingly structured listening experience considering the way it was put together, the songs stretch from 1994 to 2001 taking in Hayman's earliest recordings right up until the band's final ever session. It's sad to know that Hefner aren't with us any more, but we've got 43 songs here to listen to now, that's at least 3 albums worth! I don't know about the rest of their fans but I tended to prefer Hefner at their most lo-fi, the songs were always more enjoyable the more stripped down they were, so for me the second cd (which features the earlier material) is where the real gems are hidden. Gorgeously lo-fi, we've got old drum machines, bontempi organs and what sounds like awful amplifiers and microphones - this is the sort of indie music I love, raw, unclean, personal and genuine, none of the covering up that you'd hear in a studio record. I'm still surprised that Hefner never got better known than they did, listening to 'Catfight!' makes it very obvious that Hayman has a real gift for songwriting that's rarely seen at the moment. If you like your indie served without styling, posturing and bland overproduction then I urge you to check out Hefner, it is quite simply engaging, beautiful music.