French Local Information

Some singer’s voices are so distinctive that there’s no mistaking them for anyone else. That is very true of Hefner’s Darren Hayman and despite the fact he’s moved onto a new project, the French, he will always be linked to his former band. With good reason too because basically, the French are just Hefner minus their drummer. And as much as they might try to insist that they sound a lot different than their previous project, they don’t. It’s the voice. Local Information is a logical progression from the last Hefner album, Dead Media, where the band began to flirt with electronic instruments and move away from their beloved guitars. The album is very reminiscent of those Momus recorded for Creation back in the late ’90s — all beeps, blips and wonderful tales of love and romance that unfold through Hayman’s literate lyrics. It is with those lyrics that Hayman’s true genius is revealed because he has a true gift for taking the mundane and making it sound fascinating. He still has his sense of humour too, and it is hard to listen to most songs without smiling at least once. A very impressive debut for a band who could turn out to be even more aurally satisfying than Hefner ever were. (Too Pure)