Darren Hayman and the Long Parliament – Four Queens EP
More than ten years since Hefner’s demise, Darren Hayman continues to produce the kind of wry, winsome indie which invariably featured heavily in John Peel’s Festive 50 in the late 90s. The Four Queens EP takes one song from last year’s The Violence and features three other songs about (you guessed it) queens.
Henrietta Maria, sung from the perspective of Charles I, has the combination of jaunty, lo-fi pop and awkward sadness which characterised Hefner’s best moments; on the other contributions, Hayman’s deft lyrical touch remains in evidence, but their wispy arrangements and doleful mood feels less assured. [Sam Wiseman]