On paper, the dance collective Hercules and Love Affair’s fourth album seems like a risky endeavour. The topic of mainstay Andy Butler’s relapse into drug addiction and his recovery hangs over Omnion. It should be a tough subject for an album thick with four-to-the-floor beats to address – who wants to be reminded of the downside of hedonism while lost on the dancefloor? – but Butler has form in hitching difficult topics to dance music. The gorgeous 2014 track I Try to Talk to You featured John Grant singing about his HIV-positive status. Here, on My Curse and Cure and Wild Child, the lyrical remorse chafes intriguingly against the musical euphoria, while the title track sets Sharon Van Etten’s affecting vocals against swooning electronics. Elsewhere, Butler’s ability to co-opt unlikely voices to his musical world is as impressive as ever, from the Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila to the Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan. The latter’s appearance on the gospel-infused, filthy-minded Controller is as improbable as the end result is fantastic.
Hercules and Love Affair: Omnion review – relapse and recovery on the dancefloor
Alexis Petridis is the Guardian's head rock and pop critic