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Hercules and Love Affair are, at first glance, another one of those 'incredible genre-defying' bands (apparently, in 2008, sticking to genres just isn't cool anymore) that are being touted as the Next Big Thing. What sets Hercules and Love Affair apart, however, it that in their case, its possible they could be right.
I bought the self-titled album on the strength of the breathtaking single 'Blind', and epic track which has taken over my brain and is surely destined to be a dancefloor classic. I found that the other nine tracks on the album were similar to this, both in terms of style, and quality. I was not disappointed at all.
Hercules and Love Affair is an ambitious debut for its creator, NYC DJ Adam Butler, employing so many different styles and genres of music, that with a lesser band, the result would be a total cacophany. Elements of soul, disco, indie, sultry jazz, electro and all the best bits of 80's pop are somehow expertly mixed together to produce a stunning dance / relax album that is highly recommended.
Hercules and Love Affair is something of a rarity in that it has both cool and entirely irrestistable beats challenge you not to dance to it, whilst also managing to be the perfect soundtrack for unwinding to and relaxing after a long day. Perfect for partying on Saturday night and just as good for nursing your hangover on Sunday morning; the versatility of the album is one of it's greatest assets.
Elaborate synths, jazzy horns, electrical violins and truly seductive, emotive vocals accessorise perfectly what are essentially mellow, electonica beats based laid back dance songs. The essential simplicity of the songs does mean that they at first, have just at first, a pleasant enough repettitive charm, this later evolves into each of the tracks becoming a stand out in its own right. The bright upbeat jazz of 'Hercule's Theme' are thrilling and the ending track, 'True False / Fake Real' is particularly exciting (apparently Muppet influenced so you know it must be good) as its so blissfullly animated and cluttered that despite being slightly odd, its a veritable feast of music.
The one weak track on the album is the slightly boring 'Easy'. This track takes the laid-back theme a bit too far and comes over on the other side as being flat and monotonous. 'You Belong' almsot falls into a similar trap but rescues itself with the frankly inspired, electric violins.
All in all, Hercules and Love Affair is a fairly simple, ordinary dance album that has been turned into so much more than that with a few experimental and exciting embellishments that make it a record that will not leave your CD player as you'll find that there's no occassion where it doesn't seem like exactly the right choice of CD.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Time Will
2 Hercules Theme
3 You Belong
8 This Is My Love
9 Raise Me Up
10 True False/Fake Real