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September: 18 albums you need to hear this month

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  • Mixmag Crew
  • 1 September 2017
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Hercules & Love Affair 'Omnion' (mr.intl/Skint/BMG)

A little over five years ago, Hercules & Love Affair’s genial front man, Andy Butler, was in the grip of a drug addiction that landed him in hospital on a weekly basis. Butler’s solution was to head to Europe; he admits that he didn’t speak to his family for a year. It’s an episode Butler – now completely clean – recounts in ‘Fools Wear Crowns’, a key track on Herclues & Love Affair’s fourth album. Atop a subtle, burbling house rhythm that’s embellished by Indian strings and warm jets of acid, Butler lays himself bare: “Allow me to raise my hand and admit what a fool I am,” he confesses to his family. In those five years, the world has changed dramatically. Rather than fashion an escape from reality, they confront politics head on: the swaying Balearica of ‘Are You Still Certain’ finds Rouge Mary trading lyrics in Arabic with Hamed Sinno, the gay front man of Lebanese indie rockers Mashrou’ Leila. Inspired by the Bataclan attack and Beirut suicide bombings, it’s a call for an end to rampant fearmongering. There are other canny collaborations, too, with The Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan emulating past luminaries such as Anohni and John Grant with his turn on the melancholic ’80s pop of ‘Through Your Atmosphere’. It’s a prime example of how sometimes less is more, a song that’s understated, haunting and brilliant. They haven’t lost the ability to party, as proven by the grinding disco-funk of ‘Rejoice’, but ‘Omnion’ is a serious, grown-up dance record for serious times. Let’s dance. Stephen Worthy


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