Sunday, 6 April 2008

Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair

This masterful mythological creature is the alias of Brooklyn producer Andrew Butler, who's roped in Antony Hegarty, Nomi and Kim Ann Foxman to create a long player of aural polarisations – warm and cold; minimal and all-out; free and constrained; soft and harsh. Antony's vocals suit the throb of opening track 'Time Will' unimaginably well, with just enough vibrato to send the listener into a tizz. 'Hercules Theme' combines 70s disco with symphonic aural erotica and whisks it up into an incrementally building sparkle.Superb production throughout this diligent offering means that the disco revival spearheaded by Hercules And Love Affair, alongside Glass Candy and Erol Alkan, is going places, and fast. Not only that, NYC has been given a warrant - to become fashionable and innovative once more. As the album progresses, it moves into Yazoo territory – 'You Belong' is a timbral feast, incongruous, ecstatic and effortless all at once. 'Blind', the undoubted highlight, is a euphoric blend of romanticism and raw emotion, a tight and slinky all-encompassing temporal beast ranging from astrological naivety - "when I was a child I knew that the stars could only get brighter" – to old-fashioned, hard-headed pragmatism - "they are near/but they will not present my present".'Iris' is understated Giorgio Moroder funk, 'Easy' coming over altogether more tensile and less immediate. 'Raise My Love', on the other hand, is like a synopsis of the album that's come before it as it combines synthetics with groove, funky bass with spine-tingling vocal and vibe with isolation - it's a treat.This is the real deal, but whether or not the mood's been overthought in a quest for perfection is irrelevant, because it sounds so unrehearsed. Using words to describe this masterpiece is a pretty futile exercise when it's readily available for all to hear – so don't let this one pass you by.

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