Hefner | Dead Media | Too Pure Records

The British band Hefner takes its name from the world’s most famous playboy. While the band does share a keen interest in sex, that’s about where the comparison ends. It’s tough to imagine scantily clad bunnies curling up to these pasty Brits in rainy old London town.

Hefner, the band, is chiefly the product of Darren Hayman, who composes all the songs and accompanying acerbic lyrics. Previous records have covered standard relationship travails and tributes to their beloved London. Those themes are still present on Dead Media, but Hayman widens his gaze lyrically and musically. The deceptions of modern electronic-based society are attacked while ironically electronic loops and effects are used throughout the album to make this point. They haven’t done a total Kid A-leap into the unknown, but you can see a new direction emerging with pleasing results.

All of these elements come together on the beautiful track “Alan Bean” – a melancholy, but hopeful ode to the comparatively primitive medium of painting that could inspire a million art students, all set over a crunching, yet soft, electronic beat. “Junk” tells us all about the things that we don’t need, while the more traditional, glammy, Suede-esque “Trouble Kid” keeps up the rock end.

If you’re often guilty of judging a band by its name, you might think this offering would be swanky cocktail music for partying at the mansion. But you would be wrong. Dead Media is a refreshingly intelligent critique of the world in which we live.