DAVID reviews

30 November 2017

Hercules & Love Affair: Rejoice

by Alice May


Hercules & Love Affair: “Rejoice” - 3 mins 30s

Hitherto, Hercules & Love Affair have been more of a hit-and-miss affair than an act with their eye on the future. The eternally-revolving cast of band members kept things fresh but it wasn't really conducive to developing their sound in any meaningful direction. Some tracks stand out on each of their three preceding albums, but there seemed an awful lot that remained unresolved - rushed, or lazy, or (to borrow from The Great British Bake Off) with a very soggy bottom.

But fourth album Omnion creates a paradigm shift in our assumptions, because against it, everything that went before sounds as if it had been gearing up to this moment - one in which an exotic butterfly finally bursts out of its chrysalis with a flourish; introduced by Sharon Van Etten's ethereal vocals on the eponymous opener.

Indeed, Andy 'Hercules' Butler has a knack for choosing guest vocalists, and 'Rejoice' is no exception. A barnstorming banger of a tune, all 80s synth-pop and driving drumbeat, it's sung by trans artist Rouge Mary whose voice propels the song forward like a runaway speedboat and pulls you along in its wake.

'Rejoice' is a paean to personal resilience: whatever heartache you're nursing, push on through and celebrate the things you have in your life.

William Kennedy's promo mines this mantra in spades. He conjures the club scene of the era, interweaving footage of exuberant clubbers, drag artists and Rouge Mary herself while Hercules dances like a techno Bez beside her.

The retro feel of the setting and the flamboyance of the characters remind us of Leigh Bowery's astonishing performance art at venues like Taboo... unsettling to think that thirty years on, HALA is making house look and sound new all over again.


Commissioner: John Hassay
Film Production: Caviar Ⓦ
Director: William Kennedy
Producer: Mike Jones
Executive Producer: Katie Dolan
Cinematography: David Wright
Art Department: Elizabeth El-Kadhi Brown
Stylist: Tahi Guy
Make-Up: Grace Oni Smith
Editor: William Kennedy
Colourist: Caroline Morin @ Cheat
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