Darren Hayman – Florence
Tender hearts beware. Hayman's second album of 2015 is a significant step down from the orchestrations of his stirring William Morris tribute, Chants For Socialists. But its modesty does little to diminish its unerring eye for the lovelorn, the lonely and the lost. Florence takes its name from the city Hayman recorded it in, and indie pop purists will pounce on the fact that his 'studio' was no less than Elizabeth 'Allo Darlin'' Morris's apartment in the city.
With titles like Didn’t I Say Don’t Fall In Love With Him, When You’re Lonely Don't Be and Break Up With Him ("He don’t even know what to do / With a sweet little mess like you"), Hayman's songs play out like an all too convincing been-there-done-that commentary from the sidelines. An open-hearted exercise in melancholy, Florence is the work of a man who, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, still believes in a thing called love. Amen to that. [Gary Kaill]