Hercules & Love Affair have returned with In Amber due out June 17 on Skint/BMG. The announcement comes alongside a new track + official video: “Grace”. The track features vocals by Andy Butler and Icelandic singer Elin Ey. The track is described as like a communion with the inevitability of death, a prayer-like moment of transcendence written, Butler says, “to allow myself more peace to be felt while living”.
For Butler, Amber was a long held desire to explore emotional fields outside of the well worn tropes in electronic music, as well as a chance to explore a striking new sonic palate. While his songs have poignantly reintroduced a sense of a longing and sadness to dance music, this new material pushes things even further. The end result is something visceral yet organic, deeply emotive and infectious – the troubled ghost trapped inside the whirring, shiny machine.
Reuniting with ANOHNI for the first time since her debut in 2008. Both share a love and deep respect for music of a more aggressive bent, zig zagging from grindcore like Godflesh and Bolt Thrower, via electronic avant-garde like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire to female fronted punk and metal like Sacrilege, Fear of God and Diamanda Galas. On the other end of the spectrum, they have an equally intense appreciation for darker ethereal acts such as This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance. In Amber reflects this wide swathe of emotion and sound. The record was mixed by engineer David Wrench (FKA twigs, Frank Ocean, Arca).
Ultimately, Hercules & Love Affair pull off the subversive hat trick of infusing pop oriented electronics with a defiantly punk-rock spirit of rebellion and dogged resistance, creating an album loaded with humanity. “In dance music, the focus tends to be more on celebration, joy, desire, heartbreak,” Butler muses. “But rage? Existential contemplation? Not so much…certain emotions seemed to be off limits. In some ways, In Amber is a record I didn’t know I had in me.”
“As an artist that has always puts my personal lived experience forward in my work, not to mention the chaos of living through these recent times, I could not in good conscience make something comfortable,” Butler concludes. “I needed to express my discomfort. Making a 90’s sounding techno or house record, or an odd 80’s sounding dance track was not anything I needed to do”.
Hercules & Love Affair
3. You’ve Won This War
4. Christian Prayers
6. Contempt for You
7. Gates of Separation
8. Killing His Family
9. Who Will Save Us?
10. The Eyes of the Father
11. Poisonous Storytelling