Sunday, 28 December 2008

Best of 2008: #4 Hercules and Love Affair

Maybe I'm just a retroist but I've been extremely suspicious of modern disco in that I prejudge it all to be a pale shadow of 70s NYC disco - much like, until I listened to Erykah Badu and D'Angelo, I casually dismissed nu-soul* as irrelevant when there's still so much undiscovered 60s and 70s soul to investigate (which is a confusion between a genre's popular peak and its actual potential). But Hercules and Love Affair sounds so good, it'd be impossible for a disco fan to ignore, whatever disco's modern standing. Don't gimme none of that "Blind" bumming, cos "Hercules' Theme" is where it's at: a ridiculously smooth horns & strings led groove that amazingly starts boiling over towards the end. I could easily fit that into a set right between Eddie Kendricks and Double Exposure and no-one would notice the 2008 song (like I used to do with "New Me" and "Music Will Not Last" from Jamie Lidell's Multiply. Maybe it was just that no-one was listening). OK so "Blind" is pretty great too. But I also love the way Hercules & Love Affair works as an album - not a collection of great 12" - by subtly varying in style between each song to keep things interesting. There's no filler, no B-sides, no beat bars solely for mixing purposes: it's an album for headphones, for striding, and for dancing.

*why 'nu-soul'? what's wrong with 'new soul' which is a precise description of what it is? Does the more stylized 'nu' make it more glamorous or exciting or something?

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