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Maida Vale (Live At the BBC)

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Album Review

Die-hard radio geeks already know this just from the title: Hefner's Maida Vale is a career-spanning compilation of the defunct band's BBC radio sessions. (Maida Vale, y'see, is the leafy northwest London suburb where BBC Radio 1's main studios are housed. However, '70s proggers This Heat still keep the prize for best titular use of this location, on their own set of BBC sessions, Made Available.) Unlike many bands who simply go through a halfhearted selection of their best-known songs for their radio sessions, Hefner tend to shy away from their best-known material here: "The Greedy Ugly People" (featuring Amelia Fletcher on harmony vocals) is the only single side in these ten songs, with most of the rest being fairly obscure album tracks like the yearning "The Greater London Radio" and "Don't Flake Out on Me." The album highlight is a sardonically spirited take on "The Day That Thatcher Dies," with a punchy faux-R&B horn section that sounds like it was lifted straight off a Style Council single. Although Maida Vale is, like all collections of BBC sessions, essentially a nice curio for fans rather than an essential release, it's a nice complement to 2006's other retrospective Hefner releases.


Formed: 1992 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

British urban-folk trio Hefner traced their roots to 1992, when singer/guitarist Darren Hayman met drummer Antony Harding while the two were attending art school in Kent; relocating to London two years later, they later added bassist John Morrison, recording their 1996 debut single "Another Better Friend" just the second time all three played together. The record attracted positive underground buzz, and in late 1997 Hefner signed to the legendary Too Pure label, issuing the limited-edition 10" The...
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Maida Vale (Live At the BBC), Hefner
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