On stage Hercules and Love Affair are brilliantly brave. Theirs is a collective sound that reaches into the crowd, swaying the shoulders and gyrating the hips of everyone on the dance-floor. Not defined by gender but soul, at a Hercules and Love Affair gig, any judgements are left at the door. The album launch of third and highly anticipated album ‘The Feast Of The Broken Heart’ sees producer Andy Butler once again lead a grand ensemble in leftfield-dance-music afflictions, reigniting NY 70s disco-house, the lifeblood of the haughty, hedonistic and downright honest music project.
Tonight in London, a shared love beams from the quintet’s eyes, but to the rigid and intolerant they are sincerely unapologetic; they sing words that revel in all that is real and rough for those who tick the ‘other’ box. The popular ‘I Try To Talk To You’, charms the crowd with its elegant piano jam and is ultimately lifted by guest artist John Grant, whose vocals soar above the crowd. Its smooth jazz-house juxtaposed to the acid-soul of ‘Liberty’ highlighting Grant’s versatility, but it is the techno ‘Think’ that steals the attention of the crowd thanks to the spirited sharpness of singer Rouge Mary. Hercules and Love Affair's third instalment shies away from the diverse range of undulating beats that were so openly celebrated in their 2008 self-titled debut and instead opts for the uniform – and it works. But you have to see it to believe it.
Six years since their beginnings, Andy Butler and the Hercules and Love Affair crew have embraced and indulged in their openly gay sexuality with a “nasty basslines, stormy, bleary-eyed sounds” and rough, tough and ragged old school house that tips its hat to electro-disco circa 1987. Tonight gender knows no boundaries.