What is a song for? It’s a question that’s always been part of the music that Darren Hayman makes. From those early Hefner records that explored youthful heartbreak and broken dreams, to a solo career that has at times felt almost academic; using music to explore our national history through the study of people and place, be that Essex, Thankful Villages or open air swimming pools. A well-deserved award as Britain’s hardest working musician was as much a testament to his restless exploration of what a song could be as it was his desire to always keep busy. After all that experimentation, perhaps Darren’s upcoming album, Home Time, is just as it’s title suggests, a journey back to where it all began. Some of the youthful shimmer of those early Hefner records may have been lost, yet Home Time is once again back to the workings of the heart, as Darren himself puts it, “I wanted to make useful songs, words that could be comfort, not just thoughts that would depress”. With Home Time set for release into the world next month, today we’re premiering the latest track from it, The Joint Account.
Home Time was a record constructed under strict rules, eight tracks, entirely acoustic, Darren’s own voice accompanied on each track by the dual-tones of Common Or Garden’s Hannah Winter and Laura K, of Fortitude Valley and Tigercats fame. The Joint Account uses these strict structural building blocks, and spins them into something that sounds at once deeply sad and rather beautiful. The multi-layered vocals come to the fore throughout, as an array of guitar tones create something denser and richer than you’d expect from an acoustic offering.
It’s perhaps lyrically that The Joint Account shines brightest, like all of the tracks on Home Time, there’s an underlying current of relationship break-down, delivered with an almost brutal honesty. Here, on The Joint Account, Darren reflects on how even when processing an emotional response, it’s often objects that engage us, as Darren puts it, “the unpacking boxes, the changing of addresses, the informing of friends; there is a mine waiting to be detonated in every corner”. Perhaps there is no greater source of emotional insecurity, than the photo album, “these images we created with the sole intention of keeping forever. We want to give the briefest moments the permanence. But what to do with them once everything else falls apart? What should we do with these monuments of love?”.
As with much of Home Time, The Joint Account feels both tender and achingly honest, it walks the lines of practicality and emotion, working its way through the pain and emerging, stumbling out the other side. This is Darren coming home to the songwriting that first found his fame, he’s a touch older, a touch wiser, and just as compelling as ever.
Home Time is out May 22nd via Fika Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Darren Hayman.