Hercules and Love Affair – In Amber
In Amber, the fifth album from Andy Butler’s project Hercules and Love Affair, takes a few steps away from the usual dancefloor vibrations that are associated with the artist’s music, yet at the same time it aims to incorporate those areas of emotion that are normally ignored: “In dance music, the focus tends to be more on celebration, joy, desire, heartbreak… but rage? Existential contemplation? Not so much. Certain emotions seemed to be off limits.” And why should there be limits? Walls should be torn down.
Goth, industrial and bites of rock sounds are scattered throughout the production, paired with uniquely vocal performances. Making a beloved return to the Hercules and Love Affair sound is Anohni: 14 years after her performance in Blind, which helped define the sound of the band, she brings an essential gloomy mood, yet at times furious energy. She fits the album’s energy perfectly – clearly her vocals are made for Hercules and Love Affair.
Rhythm-wise, the track that stands out on the record is Christian Prayer, where Anohni denies ideas of an afterlife as she shouts through fiery guitar feedback and roaring drums: “When I die / Do not appeal / To your godhead all dressed in white / I am treasured, I am enslaved”. Christian Prayer is something to dance to at an indie London club on a late friday night; it has an ethereal feeling that is perfect for the small underground venues (Spiritland Southbank, anyone?).
With the release of In Amber on UK’s independent dance label Skint, Hercules and Love Affair have released their ultimate artistic vision. It’s perhaps not for everybody, but all natural evolutions in music should be welcomed.
In Amber is released on 17th June 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Hercules and Love Affair’s website here. The album is available in Hi-Res on Qobuz and all the major streaming services.
Watch the video for the single Grace here: