Hercules & Love Affair ¦ In Amber

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In Amber is the fifth studio album by Hercules and Love Affair, released digitally and physically on 17 June 2022 by Skint Records/BMG.[1] The band's founder, singer and musician, Andy Butler worked again with singer Anohni (previously of Antony and the Johnsons): Anohni appeared on several tracks, including the singles "Poisonous Storytelling",[2] and "One".[3] "Grace", the first song released ahead of the album, was sung by Butler with Icelandic singer Elin Ey.

AllMusic wrote that In Amber, "pivoted away from upbeat, dance-oriented tracks into a more reflective style. Featuring Anohni for the first time since 2008, the record channeled emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness while retaining the pristine production that Butler has cultivated throughout his career".[4]

In Amber received critical acclaim. It was named "Album of the Year 2022" by The Arts Desk,[5] and Slant Magazine included "One" in "The 50 Best Songs of 2022" list.[6]

Background, writing and recording

Anohni suggested Andy Butler that they worked songs together and they ended up composing six tracks. Butler then showed other songs he was writing and they realised that they wanted to record as a Hercules and Love Affair project.[7]

The album was conceived over a period of five years. At a certain point they "started thinking about the texture of percussion, something with humanity that might complement the content of the songs". Anohni suggested that they record with drummer Budgie of Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Creatures. Anohni stated: "It had this kind of perfection that was almost sugary. Budgie, as a drummer, completely epitomises that volatile, volcanic texture of creation, but also has a very exquisite form". "He found ways to articulate quite a feminine violence, or a feminine exuberance; a strength, a really fortified, agile, threatening at times power".[7]

Multi instrumentalist Reinhard Vanbergen joined in for the sessions and Butler asked Icelandic singer Elin Ey (complete name Elin Eyþórsdóttir) to do backing vocals on the single "Grace" and the lead on "Dissociation".[8] Anohni suggested that Butler sings more than two songs on the album.[7] It is the first time on Butler's career that he opened an album with him on vocals.[7] Butler wanted to express new things in the songs : "there are emotional fields I hadn’t ventured into previously [...] Destruction, rage, loss, but also redemption and journeying towards empowerment." Butler pictured the album as dance music with rage and existential contemplation.[9]

The album was different from previous Hercules and Love Affair works. Music journalist Dean Mayo Davies wrote that In Amber was about 'contemplating the inevitability of mortality, and trying to find peace within that fact".[7] Butler stated he needed to express his discomfort and could not make something comfortable: "making a 90’s sounding techno or house record, or an odd 80’s sounding dance track was not anything I needed to do".[10]

Journalist Martin Aston noted that there were echoes of This Mortal Coil on the record, plus thudding drums which are traces of dark post-punk, which was one of the genres Butler listened to during his "traumatised teenage years".[11]

Release and formats

In Amber was released 17 June 2022 on digital, CD and double black vinyl via Skint Records/BMG. The double vinyl was housed in a gatefold sleeve.

Two limited editions, one on 'Gold' double vinyl and another one on 'Transparent Grey' double vinyl, were available from selected shops and webstores including Rough Trade, Hmv and the official website.[12] The 'Transparent Grey' double vinyl edition which was limited to 300 copies, was available via Rough Trade.[13]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Line of Best Fit7/10[16]
Pop Matters8/10[19]
The Quietusvery favourable[20]
Rolling Stone7/10 [21]
The Wire8/10[23]

In Amber mostly received good reviews from music critics upon its release. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 13 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[14]

The Arts Desk dubbed the record "a masterpiece of dark music for dark times".[24] Reviewer Joe Muggs wrote that the album brought "stunning results", dealing with dark subjects such as "alienation, mistrust, violent homophobia, abuse, religious terror, war" but there was also "redemption, strength and love" inside the songs. Muggs added that "the doomed and the hopeful are inseparable, and the tang of each is emphasised by the other ... and musically, the mood is just as finely balanced" before concluding "it’s a truly beautiful piece of work".[24] In a four out of 5 star review, Mojo said that Hercules and Love Affair went dark while adding that In Amber was "frequently beautiful". Reviewer Martin Aston remarked that Butler was "impressively stentorian" and he alternates with Anohni. He added that In Amber was as much Anohni's record as his.[11] In a review rated eight out of ten, Uncut praised the album saying, there is "plenty of solace to be found in performances by Iceland’s Elin Ey and the ever-remarkable Anohni".[22]

Davies of Another Magazine wrote that "The best dance or electronic music often carries a melancholy" and In Amber sees Hercules and Love Affair pushing to new territory.[7] The Quietus wrote that there is "a wealth of sophistication in the spacious arrangements" and "a richness to the timbres that play central roles in the compositions". Reviewer Zara Hedderman wrote that on "all of the songs from In Amber, this is an immediately enveloping composition which retains its power after countless listens".[20] The Line of Best Fit wrote that "the album marks a break with the past but ... its move ... feels totally natural and necessary". Music journalist Simon Heavisides praised the "spine tingling backing vocals from Icelander Elin Ey" on the single "One" and the songs featuring Anohni saying, "few singers could handle with the requisite gravity but at the same time convey the beauty within what may appear a stark lyric".[16]

Ken Scrudato wrote that the album was "a deeply reflective meditation" on troubling times, while nothing there was a "genuine optimism shining through the sonic solemnity" of the opening song "Grace".[25] In a review rated 6.7 out of ten, Pitchfork wrote: "Stripping away the dancefloor euphoria of his most recognizable work, Andy Butler’s latest is a moody left-turn highlighted by some winning collaborations with Anohni".[18] For AllMusic, Heather Phares claimed that it was, "thrilling to hear such unguarded yet exquisitely crafted confessions from Hercules & Love Affair as it was to have them transport listeners to dance floor nirvana."[15]

Pop Matters included In Amber in "The Best Electronic albums of 2022" list.[26]

Track listing

All tracks are written by Andy Butler, except where noted

No.TitleWriter(s)Featured ArtistLength
1."Grace"  3:56
3."You've Won This War"  5:45
4."Christian Prayers"
  • Butler
  • Anohni
5."Dissociation" Elin Eyþórsdóttir4:14
6."Contempt for You"
  • Butler
  • Anohni
7."Gates of Separation"  5:11
8."Killing His Family"
  • Butler
  • Anohni
9."Who Will Save Us"
  • Butler
  • Anohni
10."The Eyes of the Father"  5:16
11."Poisonous Storytelling"
  • Butler
  • Anohni
12."Repent"  3:18
Total length:56:30


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.

  • Andrew Butler - vocals, all instruments
  • Anohni - vocals ("One", "Christian Prayers", "Contempt for You", "Killing His Family", "Who Will Save Us", "Poisonous Storytelling")
  • Elin Eyþórsdóttir - vocals ("Dissociation"), backing vocals ("One")
  • Budgie - drums
  • Reinhard Vandergen - mandola, guitar, bass, strings, timpani, strings recording
  • Fitzroy Madsen - saxophone ("Killing His Family")
  • Gilles Demolder - guitar ("Christian Prayers")
  • Michael Ungerer - drums recording at Blackbird Studios, Berlin
  • Francesco Donadello - drums recording at Vox-Ton, Berlin


Chart performance for Amber
Chart (2022)Peak
UK Dance Albums (OCC)[27]10
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[28]27


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan (6 April 2022). "Anohni Joins Hercules & Love Affair on New Song 'Poisonous Storytelling'". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  2. ^ "The 15 Best Songs of April 2022". Paste. 3 May 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  3. ^ Brodsky, Rachel (3 May 2022). "Hercules & Love Affair – "One" (Feat. ANOHNI)". Stereogum. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  4. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Biography - Hercules & Love Affair". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  5. ^ Muggs, Joe (16 December 2022). "Album of the Year 2022: Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  6. ^ Lyons, Burt (6 December 2022). "32. Hercules & Love Affair featuring Anohni, "One"". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 22 December 2022. "One" is the pièce de résistance of Hercules & Love Affair's In Amber. It's a doom-y kind of house music—forceful yet ethereal, done up with flighty woodwinds, a stomping drumbeat, and the insistent ringing of a triangle. Anohni's theatrical, commanding, and singular vocal articulates every syllable of the enigmatic yet evocative lyrics—"Mouth and volcano, one…feeding upon my own flesh"—whose confounding nature only teases us to return to the song over and over.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Mayo Davies, Dean (16 June 2022). "Andy Butler & Anohni In Conversation". Anothermag.com. Retrieved 16 June 2022. Budgie is such an amazing drummer – there's something so delicious about the Siouxsie catalogue and The Creatures' catalogue ...The Creatures were a band that I loved so much
  8. ^ "'Grace' is out now + Pre-order 'In Amber'". Hercules and Love Affair Official. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  9. ^ Kenneally, Cerys (24 February 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair announce first album in five years with lead single "Grace"". Thelineofbestfit.com. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Hercules & Love Affair announce new album, In Amber". Treblezine.com. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  11. ^ a b c Aston, Martin (July 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". Mojo: 90.
  12. ^ "In Amber - Hercules and Love Affair - Transparent Grey vinyl and Gold vinyl". Roughtrade.com. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
    "In Amber - Hercules and Love Affair - Gold vinyl - Transparent Amber and Bundles". Herculesandloveaffair.tmstor.es. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
    "In Amber - Hercules and Love Affair - Transparent Grey rough trade exclusive vinyl". Hmv.com. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  13. ^ "In Amber Transparent Grey double vinyl edition Roughtrade exclusive- Hercules and Love Affair". Roughtrade. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber review". Metacritic. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  15. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  16. ^ a b Heavisides, Simon (16 June 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". The Line Of Best Fit. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  17. ^ Hochgesand, Stefan (17 June 2022). "Album der woche (album of the week) Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". Musikexpress. Archived from the original on 20 June 2022. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  18. ^ a b Fallon, Patrick (16 June 2022). "Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  19. ^ Piatkowski, Pete (24 August 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair return with the Blistering In Amber -review". Pop Matters. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  20. ^ a b Hedderman, Zara (17 June 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". The Quietus. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
  21. ^ In Amber Hercules and Love Affair- review. Rolling Stone. July 2022. p. 120.
  22. ^ a b Anderson, Jason (July 2022). "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". Uncut. p. 26`. there's still plenty of solace to be found in performances by Iceland's Elin Ey and the ever-remarkable Anohni.
  23. ^ "Hercules and Love Affair: In Amber". The Wire. July 2022. p. 46`. It's heavy but utterly lovely music, full of grave strings, piano stabs and deep synth reverberations
  24. ^ a b Muggs, Joe (11 June 2022). "Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber". Theartsdesk.com. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  25. ^ Scrudato, Ken (14 June 2022). "Hercules & Love Affair's Andy Butler on Resolution, Redemption and Recognizing One's Value". Blackbookmag.com. Archived from the original on 2022-06-16. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  26. ^ Piatkowski, Peter (13 December 2022). "The Best Electronic albums of 2022". Pop Matters. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  27. ^ "Official Dance Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  28. ^ "Official Independent Albums Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 June 2022.

External links


Veröffentlichungen von Hercules & Love Affair die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:

In Amber

Hercules & Love Affair auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):

Hercules & Love Affair beim Open-Source-Festival (2014)

Hercules and Love Affair ist ein Musikprojekt des New Yorker DJs Andrew Butler. Grundsätzlich lässt sich der Stil der Gruppe keinem einzelnen Genre zuordnen, er entspricht einer Mischung aus Electro, Indie und Tanzmusik. Die Musik wird häufig als eine Hommage an die frühe House-Musik wie zum Beispiel die der DJs Frankie Knuckles oder Marshall Jefferson sowie an die Discomusik der späten 1970er Jahre interpretiert.


NamePositionTätigkeiten außerhalb der Band
Andrew ButlerProduzentProduzent und DJ
Antony HegartyGesangSänger bei Antony and the Johnsons
Kim Ann FoxmanGesangModeschmuckdesignerin und DJ
Nomi RuizGesangJessica 6 (2011: See the Light)[2]
Nomi (2005: Lost in Lust)[3]
Tim GoldsworthyCo-ProduzentMitbesitzer des Labels DFA Records

Außerdem spielten Andrew Rasposo von der Band Automato und Tyler Pope von !!! die Basslines ein.[4] Gemeinsame Live-Auftritte sind nicht geplant.[5] Jedoch waren sie in aktueller Besetzung als Vorband von Gossip in Deutschland auf Tour (2010).[6]


Die Verbindung zur griechischen Mythologie ist gewollt und spiegelt Butlers Interesse an dieser wider. Auch das Cover des selbstbetitelten Albums ist an antike griechische Kunst angelehnt; ein Song trägt den Namen Athene, ein anderer Iris. Auch die Szenerie im Video zur Single Blind erinnert an das Antike Griechenland.[7] In einem Interview verdeutlicht Butler, dass er durch den Namen der Band etwas Romantisches habe geben wollen. And Love Affair solle andererseits auch eine Verbindung zu Namen von früheren Discobands wie The Crown Heights Affair oder The Rice and Beans Orchestra herstellen.[8] Marshall Jefferson gab sich auf einigen Platten ebenfalls den Künstlernamen Hercules.[9]


Das selbstbetitelte Album Hercules and Love Affair wurde von der kritischen Fachpresse äußerst positiv aufgenommen. Das Musikmagazin Intro bezeichnete den Stil als „sensationellen Bastard aus Chicago House, Postpunk und sehr viel Disco“.[10] Paul Flynn von der britischen Zeitschrift The Guardian gab dem Album 5 von 5 Sternen[11], sein Kollege Alexis Petridis nur 3 von 5[12]. Die Times vergab 4 von 5 möglichen Sternen.[13] Das Album erreichte ebenso wie die erste Singleauskopplung Blind in vielen europäischen Ländern die Top 40.



  • Hercules and Love Affair (14. März 2008; DFA Records, CD und Vinyl-LP)
  • Sidetracked (9. Juli 2009; Renaissance Recordings) (Doppel-CD: erstere mit Remix-Versionen, zweite mit den Originalen)
  • Blue Songs (31. Januar 2011)
  • DJ-Kicks (Kompilation mit einem neuen Song) (26. Oktober 2012; K7 Records)
  • The Feast of the Broken Heart (2014)
  • Omnion (2017)
  • In Amber (2022) (mit Anohni) (17. Juni 2022; Skint Records/BMG, CD und Vinyl-LP)


  • My House (2011)
  • Roar (3. September 2007; DFA Records)
  • Blind (3. März 2008; DFA Records, CD und Vinyl-Single)


  1. Chartquellen: DE AT CH UK
  2. Jessica 6 bei Myspace.
  3. Archivlink (Memento des Originals vom 25. Juni 2011 im Internet Archive)  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/www.nomionline.com
  4. pitchforkmedia.com (Memento vom 13. März 2008 im Internet Archive)
  5. intro.de
  6. [1]
  7. YouTube-Video
  8. musicomh.com (Memento desOriginals vom 15. April 2008 im Internet Archive)  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/www.musicomh.com
  9. discogs.com
  10. intro.de (Memento desOriginals vom 30. März 2008 im Internet Archive)  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/www.intro.de
  11. music.guardian.co.uk
  12. arts.guardian.co.uk
  13. entertainment.timesonline.co.uk


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