Review: Hercules & Love Affair – The Feast of the Broken Heart

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The Feast of the Broken Heart is a fruity affair. Hercules & Love Affair’s third album is a relative cocktail of disco and dance, house and groove. Indeed its album cover is smothered in pineapples, bananas and half-naked dancing ‘bears’, and it’s primed for the club, destined to be played worldwide. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the soundtrack of your summer, when you’re dancing into the early hours of the morning.

Album opener ‘Hercules Theme 2014’ starts The Feast of the Broken Heart as it means to go on, with a deep pounding beat that perfectly showcases Hercules & Love Affair’s newest sound and is a refreshing update on their 2008 counterpart. This deep, incessant beat recurs throughout the album, cutting deep – it’s perhaps more prominent on ‘The Light’ which features a vocal by Krystle Warren, which is simply dripping in emotion. It’s a dark and deep song, similar to both ‘Think’ and ‘Liberty’, the former of which is soul-infested and a slow burner which culminates in an infectious chorus primed to sweep club-goers off of their drunken feet. The latter melds darkness with twinkling synths reminiscent of dripping water and which, like ‘Think’, builds throughout resulting in a deep beat that penetrates the very eardrums.

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Contrasting these songs are the more upbeat tracks: ‘My Offence’ reminds listeners of Hercules & Love Affair’s sound of old (think ‘You Belong’ from their brilliant self-titled debut) with a simple, yet infectious beat layered over Warren’s contrasting silky/husky vocal; ‘That’s Not Me’ which features a brilliant turn by Gustaph who’s voice blends effortlessly with the elegant house beats created by Andy Butler; and, ‘5:43 to Freedom’ which is uncannily reminiscent of Scissor Sisters’ unknown gem ‘Making Ladies’. ‘5:43 to Freedom’ is fun, showing exactly how much Hercules & Love Affair’s sound has changed from their second album Blue Songs. It’s layered in spoken vocals over a prolonged opening, but when the beat drops the perfect blend of house and dance sweeps over the listener.

A rarity of today, The Feast of the Broken Heart doesn’t feature a poor track. Every song is perfect. ‘I Try To Talk To You’ is dark and broody with a strikingly contrasting vocal by John Grant that somehow works, whereas album closer ‘The Key’ is the most down-tempo song on the album – it’s flecked with jazz, and elegantly subtle, perfectly blending H&LA’s new and old sounds.

The Feast of the Broken Heart‘s standout track ‘Do You Feel The Same?’ features a pulsating beat played over gorgeously silky vocals by Gustaph. It veers slightly towards techno, with an infectious chorus that asks the listener over and over if they feel the same as the band, and come the close of The Feast of the Broken Heart their fans will join Hercules & Love Affairs reinvigorated feeling of fun. ‘Do You Feel The Same?’ demands the listener to dance, and perfectly showcases what The Feast of the Broken Heart is all about.

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