Labors of Love
Disco is dead, you say? Be prepared to lose that argument to Andrew Butler, the mastermind behind Manhattan dance collective Hercules & Love Affair. Indeed, discoâ€šÃ„Ã´s inferno rages bigger and brighter than ever throughout all 10 songs on their self-titled debut, full of a confidence and passion that havenâ€šÃ„Ã´t been heard from the genre in decades.The key to the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s success is its complete lack of irony. Too many post-post-dance acts in the â€šÃ„Ã²00s approach the music with a knowing smirk, paying shallow homage. No smirks are found here, though the celebratory funk of â€šÃ„ÃºHercules Themeâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and dub-tastic swirl of â€šÃ„ÃºRaise Me Upâ€šÃ„Ã¹ certainly invite their share of smiles. Butler, with able assistance from DFA producer Tim Goldsworthy, wears his love for music on his sleeve, a sincerity that suits the material well.
ame Not all credit can go to Butler, though. While he pours his heart into the beats, a talented team of vocalists flesh out the lyrics. Kim Ann Foxmanâ€šÃ„Ã´s sweet delivery works equal wonders on the rubbery â€šÃ„ÃºAtheneâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and blissed-out â€šÃ„ÃºIrisâ€šÃ„Ã¹ while Nomi drips seductive menace all over house jam â€šÃ„ÃºYou Belong.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Top honors, however, go to one Antony Hegarty (of The Johnsons fame). For evidence of this look to signature single â€šÃ„ÃºBlind.â€šÃ„Ã¹ None of its elements are particularly newâ€šÃ„Ã®the galloping beat, outbursts of horn, and tumbling synth notesâ€šÃ„Ã®but when combined with Hegartyâ€šÃ„Ã´s winning warble, the end result is oddly, thrillingly alien.
ame The album seems slightly top-heavy, almost as if the party tires out before the listener. Still, the later tracks are never less than utterly engaging, and a true inferno continues to smolder long after its initial outbreak. Anyone going into this fire doubting its beauty or intensity should only have one thing to say afterwards: Burn, baby, burn.