Hercules and Love Affair
Until recently, the disco resurgence in New York had been myth and legend woven with a passion for the city’s decadent past in the face of a more regimented future. Making it happen in the present—except for the odd DFA single, genius edit and James Murphy mix CD—has been a challenge for the nu-disco underground. Released in Europe in March, this long-player established a Gotham-based electronic disco beachhead in the U.K. charts, and it’s bound to start some fires around here. Hercules and Love Affair’s debut, named for a myth about the muscled hero searching for his lost friend-lover Hylas on the island of Cios, is one of the true sensations of 2008.
Warbly voiced crooner Antony (of Mercury Prize–winners Antony and the Johnsons) lends his distinctive talents to romantic boogie numbers such as “Time Will” and the androgynous glam-disco lead single “Blind.” But he won’t tour with the band. At the core of the gang of club-scene oddballs is one Andy Butler. The songwriter/producer draws on classic house, disco classics and his love for mythology in inspired (and distinctively gay) songs that triumph as personal, inspired pop under the brightest mirror ball.
It’s something of a team effort, !!!’s Tyler Pope plays bass on “Blind,” Tim Goldsworthy of DFA fame produces, and the statuesque Nomi Ruiz takes the microphone on the mutant-disco-inspired “Athene” and the classic house-referencing “You Belong.”
After playing a single-release party in New York, the band’s first show, it immediately commenced a tour…of Europe. Chicago may not get a live rendezvous with HLA until 2009. That’s a tragedy we can live with—but just barely.