Album round-up: Hercules & Love Affair, tUnE-yArDs

327dae0d[two_third last=”no”]Hercules & Love Affair – The Feast of The Broken Heart (★★☆☆☆)

“Hercules… and Love Affair” booms Hercules Theme 2014 in a manner not too dissimilar to the Muses in the namesake Disney film. It opens The Feast of the Broken Heart with the typically sultry, grotty dark-disco that propelled Andy Butler’s Hercules & Love Affair collective to the heights of disco-euphoria after their last album. There are a few changes this time round – Antony Hegarty has been replaced by another modern icon, John Grant – but the most notable seems to be the absence of any direction. Take I Try To Talk To You, Grant’s discussion on HIV. Maybe we’ve been spoilt by Robyn or even Grant’s own incredible dance-pop, but things just don’t quite mesh together on The Feast of the Broken Heart. Elsewhere, That’s Not Me attempts to recall a sort of Horse Meat Disco vibe but doesn’t quite manage it, while tracks like Think and The Light go round in circles with little payoff. There’s small respite in lead single Do You Feel The Same?, but ultimately this Feast turns out to be just a couple of choice morsels.[/two_third]

Nikki_Nack_artwork[two_third last=”no”]tUnE-yArDs – Nikki Nack (★★★★☆) 

We’ve always been a bit sceptical of tUnE-yArDs, not least because even just typing that name seems like such a calculated chore that we know Merrill Garbus is out to challenge us. But then that could be our fear of change, our fear of embracing non-traditional melodies and a series of bat-shit crazy arrangements that somehow work on Nikki Nack. Openers Find A New Way and Water Fountain are almost tribal in their approach to DIY alt-pop, the later in particular a rousing melange of woo-hahs and scattergun beats. And Garbus certainly gives it her all: Time of Dark is full-throated, Real Thing comes out as the most garbled neo-R&B/soul effort this century, and songs change direction and tempo without warning, yet it all keeps you utterly riveted. That’s the general feeling at the end of Nikki Nack – we’re not quite sure what we’ve just experienced, but by God do we bow down to Garbus’s genius for making us want to go back to it immediately.[/two_third]

Summary
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Hercules & Love Affair - The Feast of The Broken Heart
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