the Hefners - "Repop!"
Middle Class Pig Records

Well, The Hefners have a new CD. It's called Repop!, and I know the question that has to be answered first is: "Is it as good as their last one?"

The answer? Way better. Much as I liked Lay Off..., this new effort is more polished and better recorded. There's actually a low end to this record, rather than the tweeter-destroying sound that predominated The Hefners' previous release.

And the songs... oh, the songs... man, this record stayed in my truck's CD player for three straight nights. I listened to nothing else while I was at work.

The opener, "Up In My Room," starts the album off with a head-wagging, hip-shaking, rev-up complete with harmonica.

However, while there are the fair share of hit-and-run tunes, like their first CD, the Hefners hit some slower material on Repop!, and it certainly helps to round out their sound.

"Lost Weekend" and a cover of the Kinks' "I'm Not Like Everybody Else" are two of the standout slower tunes. "Spanish Ramada" should become an instant slow-dance classic, and makes a great companion piece to "Short-Haired Girls," as they make for opposite sides of the coin of longing and lust.

However, it's looking at the album as a whole that really works here. Individually, nearly every song could be a college radio single, but it's the fact that Repop! is solid from start to finish, with a total lack of filler that makes this CD stand out from the pack.

Recording live to 2-track was certainly a perfect decision for the band, making for a full sound, letting all of the instruments equal in the mix, rather then the keyboard being front and center. Granted, Bryce's keyboard work is still what makes the Hefners' sound what it is. But the guitars, bass, and drums all get equal time on this release, and that's why the whole album ranks as one of the better local albums to come out in a long while.

Repop! is finely crafted – it flows from fast to slow, from lyrical to instrumental, without any oddities or irregularities, and not a single wasted track. A fine piece of work.