Timing is important, especially when you’re dealing with a Hercules & Love Affair album. Moshi Moshi have dropped this stunning LP with records that shimmer and float above a formidable production technique swarming with Robert Owen-esque vocals. ‘My Offence’ is full of sharp, blindingly bright synths underlain with Andy Butler’s assertive yet somewhat guttural vocals. For me ‘I Try To Talk To You’ is the protagonist in this snarling tail of summer-house fun. The midrange textures and annoyingly familiar piano line adds to the genuinely unhinged and haunting aura of the record; it makes for an early offset of the perceptive, more-obvious path that most will inherently think the album is heading down – a spanner in the works, some might say.
You’d normally associate an album with three, maybe four stand-out tracks, and I’m not one to sing and praise and album in its entirety, but Hercules & Love Affair have produced a truly magnificent LP with very little room for negativity. I’m always a little skeptical of indie dance music because the genre’s forbearers have fabricated a deluge of fantastic interpretations, and while countless producers have picked up the sound, there are only really a handful of artists to have mastered it in its simple, most beautiful form. Luckily, for me anyway, Hercules & Love Affair are most definitely one of the aforementioned.
‘Think’ is a strong record, there’s little doubt about that. The off-key synth digression fools everyone yet makes enough room in the druggy haze of Butler’s uttered lyrics to form a visual New York jazz-club aesthetic. There’s room to breathe, there’s room to sing and shout, but more importantly – ‘Think’ has forged itself room into my permanent playlist. ‘Do You Feel The Same’ provides soulful vocals with what is probably the album’s most dance floor-friendly records combining an acid squelch with a tech-house, speed-metal drum sequence that surely complements a large portion of musical tastes.
My only criticism, and it’s a rather banal one at that, is that the LP lacks diversity. It’s difficult to wholly satisfy every component of an album and one that does defines itself as one of the greatest. Unfortunately, the delusional grandeur set within the first few records quickly fades away and even though no track is individually pitiable, as a whole – the LP doesn’t come across as a puzzle assembled with any sort of unconventional mindset.
‘The Feast of the Broken Heart’ works conceptually. It’s produced with vigour, unpredictability and a sense of absolute confidence. There’s no doubt that Andy Butler has now stamped himself into quite possibly one of the most exciting, accomplished and downright talented electronic music artists of the modern day – I just wish his ability to foray into the unknown was a little more exercised.