The prolific Mr. Hayman returns to our stereos with the second instalment in his Essex trilogy – don’t ask – following last year’s Harlow inspired Pram Town. Having received the most positive response to any of this post-Hefner work with Pram Town, one could say expectations have been raised for its follow up. Gladly expectations are fulfilled as Essex Arms not only betters the previous outing but includes several career high ditties.
‘Calling Out Your Name’ is a glorious duet with Emmy the Great, it’s as plucky and carefree as they come, with Hayman’s quintessentially English story-telling guiding us through a tale of love and squalor in the fields on the edge of London.
Elsewhere, ‘Super Kings’ is a touching lament for times gone past sang with typical Hayman flippancy, “throwing tiny pebbles up at your window making you want to come down, I’m so fucking on it, I’m all over that shit no-one is going to hurt you now”. As ever no subject is out of bounds as illicit sex in car parks is mulled over on ‘Cocoa Butter’ with a whimsical charm, and on ‘Spiderman Beats Ironman’ – a raging debate if ever there was one – Hayman croons about the art of joyriding whilst high on Cream Soda, obviously. Charming as ever, chamber-folk-pop never sounded so adorable.