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The balance between strength and vulnerability has long been a magic formula in dance music and especially in gay dance music. Hercules & Love Affair's third album zeroes in on this with hawk-eyed precision, pairing pumping house beats with voices full of world-weary gravitas.
On past albums, bandleader Andy Butler reworked classic disco, but this record - the group's most straightforward - unapologetically revels in the scuzzy analog house of the 80s and 90s. The beats are raw, and the emotions equally so.
It's a formula to be sure, but Feast's main delights are its textures and songwriting. Hercules is a platform for queer vocal talent, and the particular qualities of their four singers add emotional momentum that prevents the music from becoming mere dance floor nostalgia.
Piano man John Grant turns up to unpack a few demons, and Krystle Warren's dusky, androgynous turn on the exhilarating My Offence celebrates conversations around language and identity - also very 90s. If it's not a hit, someone needs to be called out.
Top track: My Offence