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Hercules & Love Affair - 'Blind'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:20 UK time, Saturday, 1 March 2008

Hercules & Love AffairThe relationship everyone has with the name they choose to go by in life is a deep and complex one. If you're happy with who you are, or feel that the name your parents chose for you totally fits the person you have become - warts and all - you tend to leave it alone. However, if, for whatever reason, you feel that your name doesn't fit, you can always go looking for a new one. But how long do you spend trying on names until you come across the perfect one? It could take years.

For example, you kind of get the impression that the name Marilyn Manson wasn't the first 'supermodel + serial killer' mash-together that our Brian Warner came up with, although it was the best. All the second rate ones got given to the other members of the band. I would imagine very few of the ones who left are still signing cheques 'Greta Bradey' or whatever mish-mash they got lumped with.

So, here's a song sung by a man called Antony (of & The Johnsons fame), a name given to him as a child, and the name he goes by when performing too, so it's clearly one he's comfortable with. BUT he's working with a dance producer fella called Andrew Butler, who possibly feels his own given name is not quite dramatic enough for the kind of cabaret-infused house music he likes to make, so, in common with Mr Manson, he's invoking not one, but two mythical figures.

There's Hercules, the greek strong-man who (among other things) cleared a mountain of dung from a cow-shed using a river, and there's Love Affair, the '60s pop soul band who (among other things) cleared a mountain of dung from the charts using an unstoppable tidal force called 'Everlasting Love'. From this we can safely presume that Andrew Butler has a taste for the heroic gesture.

It's also safe to assume that this is why he's brought Antony in to sing this murky gem. There's something about the genderless warble in his voice, and the deliberately stagey, overdramatic lyrics he uses which comes across like the scariest moments of one of the darker fairy stories - one in which the big bad wolf gets a wrecking-ball, instead of wasting all that time huffing and puffing.

But the thing is, without meaning to sound sniffy about Andrew Butler, part of the reason why Antony is such a remarkable figure is that mix of the fantastical with the everyday. If he called himself Flouncy Weathercock, it would be easy to assume he was just singing for His People - whoever they may be.

As it is, even the people who love his work with the Johnsons are divided over this song, and some people who hate Antony's day job have been totally won round by his voice in this new setting. Clearly there is something in this indentity-swapping lark after all.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: March 3rd

(Fraser McAlpine)


  1. At 03:29 PM on 06 Mar 2008, Paul Campbell wrote:

    I do like the sound of H&LA but it's way to similar to Arthur Russell especially his fantastic track 'Just One Kiss' realeased under the name Dinosaur

  2. At 02:38 PM on 07 Apr 2008, Aggie bagwash wrote:

    This is the bees knees by the way and the Antony bloke has a voice like lava....oooooeeerh mrs it fair makes the hair on the back o' my neck stand up!.....and its a groover...yah gay disco resurrected!

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