The Race For Space
The US disco/house collective keep the big names coming for their third album.
Led by producer Andy Butler, Hercules & Love Affair commanded attention in 2008 with their single Blind, a fabulous slice of soulful house that was made even better by the incongruous presence of Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons, mournful crooner turned disco diva. It was one of the tracks of the year.
Second album Blue Songs in 2011 found Butler co-opting Bloc Party's Kele Okereke for another transformation, alongside his steady crew of unknowns, and now The Feast Of The Broken Heart sees him changing it up again. This time country-hued American singer-songwriter John Grant is the Hegarty figure, showing his versatility and Butler's vision on the smooth jazz-house of I Try To Talk To You and the acid-soul of Liberty. It's a trick that keeps on working.
The show though is stolen by one Rouge Mary, who brings a citrus sharpness to the echoing techno of Think and the defiant, jacking 5.43 To Freedom. The latter, alongside Krystal Warren's turn on My Offence, celebrates diversity but — in the beats at least — Butler shies away from that. The Feast Of The Broken Heart is almost entirely uniform, sticking to an electro-disco pattern straight out of 1987. Great for a DJ set but oddly motionless for an album. Still, spot-on in the right circumstances.