Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hehfu - Music For My Broken Ears (Bleeding Gold)

Regular listeners to my Dandelion Radio show know that I become excited beyond reason at the mere whiff of a prospect of hearing anything from Hehfu, so you'll no doubt be able to anticipate my reaction to a whole album's worth of his finely tuned indie pop stylings. Hehfu's first proper album release (as opposed to the compilation but out via my Unwashed Territories bandcamp site a little less than a year ago) comes via the well-tuned ears of the Bleeding Gold label and is, as expected, a triumph.

Quite what it really is that Hehfu possesses that others who indulge themselves in the same broad idiom don't have is something I've never been satisfactorily able to my finger on. I've talked in the past about wanting to hear milkmen whistling his tunes as it appears to me that said tunes have the propensity to aspire to that kind of cultural position. I'd like to think this release is a step towards achieving that goal, if indeed Bleeding Gold can, as is to be hoped, get Music For My Broken Ears into the much broader areas Hehfu deserves to be heard in before milkmen die out completely.

For those who've experienced Hehfu's fascinating past releases via my show, some of what's on here will strike a familiar chord. New versions of the tracks he recorded in session for my January 2011 show are all here, and one of those - 'A Puppy Is Not Just For Christmas' - I give another airing to in my December show, streaming as usual from 1 December and at varying times through the month at Elsewhere, we find a mix of the familiar and the new, coexisting seamlessly and all underpinned by Brad Clarke's effortless, languid delivery over rhythms that vary from the rattling to the resigned, overlaid with those appealingly plaintive guitar parts that have become such a part of life for me these last few years.

Hopefully this collection will make Hehfu's music part of a few other lives too. For the record, a personal favourite is 'Street Orange Glow' which takes all of the aforementioned elements and somehow upgrades them to a level of sublimity even beyond that of Hehfu's previous works, something that I'd assumed wasn't possible. And maybe that's the elusive criterion I was looking for earlier. Working in this relatively well-trodden idiom, Hehfu's work retains a capacity to surprise that is well beyond his peers.

Anyway, I have to go now. The milkman's at the door and he's whistling something that sounds gratifyingly familiar...

Get it as a beautifully packaged CD/7" here

PS - Final day for voting in the festive fifty is today. Cast your vote here before it's too late.

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