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Hercules & Love Affair Import

3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, March 11, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

2008 debut album from the Electro outfit led by Andrew Butler and featuring Antony (from Antony & The Johnsons), Nomi, and Kim Ann. Andrew Butler emerged from making music for college-based dance projects into a fully-fledged recording artist, via the New York art scene. He hooked up with his friends and got them to collaborate and sing his songs and Hercules & Love Affair is the result. This album is 2008's most exciting dancefloor concoction, an arthouse vision of Pure Pop by way of futuristic Electronica and classic Dance music, where beautiful, bruising harmonies and tensile rhythms collide in resurgent soundscapes and emotive Disco workouts. The album is co-produced by Andrew Butler with Tim Goldsworthy of DFA at Plantain Studios in the midst of Manhattan, New York City. DFA.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Time Will
  2. Hercules Theme
  3. You Belong
  4. Athene
  5. Blind [Full Album Version]
  6. Iris
  7. Easy
  8. This Is My Love
  9. Raise Me Up
  10. True/False, Fake/Real

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: March 10, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Phantom Sound & Vision
  • ASIN: B0012X44HE
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #797,476 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I'd only ever heard of "Hercules & Love Affair" from glowing reviews I saw on loads of websites which piqued my interest. Listening to this album is like stepping back into the seventies; the Disco era in particular. Thumping bass lines, heavy synths, stomping beats, and loads of horns give a contemporary, yet retro feel.

Featuring the haunting mournful vocals of Antony Hegarty (from Antony & The johnsons) on most tracks, the group's eponymous debut features just 10 tracks, but each is outstanding, from more sombre opening cut "Time will", to the horn filled largely instrumental "Hercules' theme" (which reminds me a bit of eighties UK group Imagination).

Other upbeat numbers are the keyboard adorned "Athene", the very disco-ish "Blind", the throbbing horn-filled "This is my love" (with a Jazzy feel and spoken/sung vocals from DJ Andy Butler), the incredibly catchy "Raise me up", and closing cut "True false, fake real" (great percussion and a capella singing). "Iris" and "Easy" take the tempo down, both are subdued atmospheric numbers.

My favourite song is "You belong", which is House/Disco with a razor sharp bubbly synth line. Incredibly catchy and very clubby.

From the glowing reviews I'd read about the album, I half feared it would be one of those arty albums that would be greatly admired but difficult to get into. Happily, its not the case with this clever, superb album which just gets better with each spin. A stellar debut!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is what Ladytron's Light And Magic should have been -- the moody, lonely, arty city-hipster dance album of the 2000s. Hercules And Love Affair is an extremely emotional album, to the point where it starts to seem a bit unhealthy. The songs make ostentatious, preening displays of loneliness and sorrow. They're dramatic to the point of abstraction, losing resemblance to reality. Or, at least, if anybody were to act this way in real life -- perhaps someone with a lot of idle time to spend hyper-focused on every minute detail of their own emotions -- they'd probably be very difficult to get along with.

But it sure makes for brilliant theatre. It's like looking at an abstract allegory of "sorrow" or "passion." The emotions are so exaggerated and decadent that they take on a classical quality. The album's use of the Greek theme (songs reference Hercules, Athena and Iris) is a very inspired touch -- Greek tragedy is basically made out of the same material. I even wish there were more of this. Just think what they could do with the story of Achilles!

It might take a couple of listens to see just how dark the album is, since it is very fast-paced and partially rooted in hedonistic disco music. Even the slower songs have a very firm, up-tempo rhythmic backbone. Nonetheless, of all the songs, only "Hercules Theme" sounds jaunty and cheerful, and the vocalist's sexy mewling actually sounds like fun. Everywhere else, though, there is no salvation in sensuality.
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Format: Audio CD
Obviously the rage of NYC's dance sector upon its release, this album puts to shame its flavor of the month indie/dance/electro peers. Andy Butler, who as I understand it is the mastermind behind the project, has put together a collection of tracks that out-class the increasingly unimaginative and erroneously titled "electro" dance fad- not just building on retro synths and beats but giving them an extra dose of reality via live horns and other instrumentation. The vocals, provided variously by three singers, give the album a refreshing free-for-all sort of feel. This isn't a record label construction, or a long-struggling band that has just come into their own, rather you get the feeling that these musicians came together in a very informal way over the simple common interest of making dance music. This also gives it an "of the people" aura which I think contributes to the vicariousness of the whole thing.

I'll admit that my favorite songs are the singles- "Hercules Theme", "Blind" and "You Belong" are all where I think the group hits their stride, rocking with stupendous momentum over flawless disco basslines and airtight brass garnishes. About half the album operates at a slower pace, and I find my attention sometimes wanders during songs like "Iris" which lack the vitality of the more anthem-y tunes. I also cannot get into Kim Ann Foxman's singing. She's certainly not a bad singer, but after Antony blazing through something like "Blind" and Nomi Ruiz' performance on "You Belong", as heartbreaking as it is sensual, Kim Ann's low key murmur doesn't quite have the same vitality.

There is a definite energy behind "Blind" especially, one of those rare songs that seems to have taken on a life of its own in the hands of its creators.
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Format: Audio CD
Prior to the release of `The Crying Light,' Antony Hegarty was involved in Hercules and Love Affair and I regretfully missed it on its initial release. Bathed in disco and dance music, this full-fledged production is led by Andrew Butler (keyboards, vocals) and features programming by the DFA's Tim Goldsworthy. The majority of the vocals are by Antony, Nomi and Kim Ann Foxman. Hercules and Love Affair are not disco apologists and embrace disco, as it had never gone to an early demise.

Those expecting the sounds of Chic, Seventies-Era Bee Gees and Donna Summer will be slightly disappointed because Hercules and Love Affair have updated the sounds of disco into something new by incorporating modern synths and effects as well as offbeat rhythms including some dub sounds. The majority of songs on this album belong on the dancefloor although two slow electronic songs creep in (Iris, Easy). Standout tracks include: "Blind," "You Belong" and the funky "Athene."
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