In the late 1990’s I had an obsession with a small indie record label in Spain called Siesta Records, a label with a very specific sound, hanging somewhere between twee and sophisticated retro-indie-pop, with some fab retro aesthetics to boot. The sound of Siesta was a pop fantasy, a sunny escape, a nostalgic trip in an open-top car. It was effortlessly cool. I have a pretty big section in my CD-collection taken up by the stylish, matte digipacks of Siesta and lately I have been revisiting them a lot. But I haven’t heard any recent band coming as close to the Siesta sound as when I was advised to listen to The Hepburns this week.
The Hepburns are a Welsh indie band from Llanelli in South-West Wales. They have recorded twelve albums, two EPs, one single, and three BBC sessions and have been signed to Berkeley-based label Radio Khartoum since 1999. The latest album, ‘Electric Lliedi Land‘ was released on September 11th 2020.
‘Electric Lliedi Land‘ contains 18 songs about stories about Llanelli, of which 6 are spoken-word tracks over instrumentals, with little anecdotes about life in Llanelli by what appear to be locals and/or friends, usually followed by a song about the tale.
The whole album is a treasure from start to end but highlights are definitely the gorgeous “In The Sun” which I listened to whilst sunbathing with my headphones on yesterday. Funnily it didn’t turn out to be about that sun, but about the preceding story by Michelle Wright who literally ended up being a page 3 girl in The Sun newspaper. “Hayfever” is an equally sunny track with yacht vibes about other summer-related (and relatable) problems. “Floating” feels like a lovely blend of Blueboy and Stereolab, and “Dandruff” is pure blissful pop-perfection, just like “Mrs. O’Shea“, a song about a plain housewife with an unexpected crush on Alvin Stardust. The album ends with the hilarious anecdote by band-member Sue Reece and accompanying track “You Should Have Seen The Band“. This album has everything I want in an album: good music, nostalgia, couleur locale and humour. If you love Belle & Sebastian, Blueboy/ Beaumont, and Camera Obscura or were a fan of El Records or Siesta: buy without any hesitation! A must!