Hercules and Love Affair

Hercules and Love Affair | Mute/DFA
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  July 8, 2008
3.5 3.5 Stars
As hard as widespread curiosity can herd the downloading hordes toward the blog-sanctioned late-disco glories of NYC’s Hercules and Love Affair, there are a couple of obstacles that stand in the way of this debut’s getting the universal living-room love it deserves — and “late disco glories” are the least of them. A bigger concern is leadoff track “Time Will”: though starting listeners off on the right cognitive foot (“Heads up listener, it’s that warbly Antony dude singing over dance tracks”), it doesn’t transcend such paraphrasing till the end, when it turns generous, edgy, vulnerable, and memorable — that is, when it turns into the rest of this frequently remarkable record. Unlike much of what the DFA has tickled listeners with since the millennial odometer flipped, there’s no ghostly cynicism, esoteric distance, or stone-faced dance-floor austerity to make you feel as if you’d been left off the guest list. If anything, the rotating cast of vocalists (Antony’s creamy and somehow perfect croon; Nomi’s soulful Stevie-B homage; Kim Ann Foxman’s laconic calls — as on the ESGish “Athene”) and the Saturday-night spirit of the instrumentation (shamelessly rich with horns, throwback synth accents, eased tempos, glimmering washes, bombast, and drama — see Antony’s simmering performance of “Blind”) are together more welcoming than anything the DFA has dropped in years. If you’re waiting around for a written invitation, well, consider this it.
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