The completists among you will understand this and know the pain of re-releases: you have everything that a band has released and they go (they being the record company, of course) and release a compilation of everything you already own in a slightly nicer case with a couple of b-sides, which of course, you already own. You have to buy it. There are very few re-releases which are un-resented buys by fans but thankfully, Hefner’s re-release of ‘The Fidelity Wars’ falls into this category.
“In the 1990s, it was far too exciting for words.”
When Hefner first alighted our hearts back in the nineties music was very different. When their debut album ‘Breaking God’s Heart’ was released it was concealed within the miasma of Britpop and whilst other bands victored, Hefner’s quiet tales of love and loss seemed set adrift amidst bouncy tales of cheeky chappie lives, drinking and Generation-X pseudo-existentialist dilemmas. When the Britpop bubble burst in 1997, the original release of ‘The Fidelity Wars’ hit at the right time: lonely, dark, introverted and squirming with pain, it was an album which captivated, and still continues to do so.
As a document which encompasses a good wedge of their career, it is quite an incredible one. With all 11 original tracks, along with 29 rarities, B-sides and tracks from deleted EPs and still retaining the iconic pop art style imagery of its predecessor; this is a remarkably special package. Sleeve notes from Hayman reveal that the subject matter dealt with a particularly nasty breakup and revealing that consequently, he reunited and married the subject of many of his songs. Although he was assured the album had nothing to do this, as every song is a heart melting tale of bewilderment, confusion and sadness, it becomes the ultimate emotional paean to a broken heart and perhaps the very reason, despite being told the contrary, that that spark was re-alighted.
Hefner never achieved the success and status that they so rightly deserved back in the late nineties but this release will go some way to appease fans and whet the appetite of a new generation of Henferites.