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Hercules & Love Affair “The Feast Of The Broken Heart” – Album ReviewHercules & Love Affair “The Feast Of The Broken Heart” – Album Review

Moshi Moshi (2014)

Inspired by the draining final eight months of a crumbling relationship, Hercules & Love Affair’s third album, The Feast Of The Broken Heart, has been described by the ever-rotating collective’s leader Andy Butler as more “fiery, rough, tough and ragged” than their previous 21st Century takes on Chicago house.

Despite roping in industrial pioneer Mark Pistel (Michael Franti, Consolidated) as co-producer, the follow-up to 2011’s Blue Songs isn’t the huge departure the New York DJ hinted, with only the trippy techno of “Liberty” and the drum ‘n’ bass tinged closer “The Key” taking the whole crying-at-the-discotheque concept into more aggressive territory.

However, Hercules & Love Affair’s inspired choice of guest stars ensures that The Feast Of The Broken Heart still remains utterly intriguing throughout. Recapturing the heart-on-the-sleeve confessional vibe of last year’s stunning Pale Green Ghosts, Colorado troubadour John Grant recalls the moment he discovered he was HIV-positive against a backdrop of elegant lounge bar piano, hissing hi-hats and shimmering synths on the wondrous “I Try To Talk To You.”

Belgian unknown Gustaph makes the most of his first moment in the spotlight on “That’s Not Me,” a glorious mid-90s throwback which echoes the handbag house of Livin’ Joy. Likewise the equally androgynous Rouge Mary, who takes center stage on the disjointed funk of “Think.”

But it’s jazz-soul chanteuse Krystle Warren who steals the show, transforming herself into a fully-fledged vocal house diva on both “My Offence,” a provocative feminist anthem which is surely the first time noted academic Germaine Greer has been quoted on a dance record, and “The Light,” an equally curious blend of spooky slide guitars, answering machine bleeps and gospel melodies which echoes Moby at his Play-era peak.

The Feast Of The Broken Heart might not be the record Hercules & Love Affair promised. But it’s another triumphant love letter to classic house which perfectly extols the virtues of “dancing your troubles away.”

4 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music


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