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OMNION Hercules and Love Affair

Since breaking through with 2008’s stunning debut single Blind, Andy Butler’s Hercules and Love A_air collective have blossomed into a great dance act: their music is hard-edged and sparkling, like a diamond or a particularly witty read. But this fourth album arrives after DJproducer Butler has refined his own personal brand of hedonism. “A few years back I was in the grip of a brutal drug addiction that saw me overdosed in hospital every weekend. I was really decimated,” he recently recalled. Now four years sober, can Butler muster the same levels of queer dance floor abandon? The answer is a definite yes, albeit with a new, more reflective edge. Omnion may not feature a standout banger to rival Blind, but it creates a consistently inviting groove that supports a talented cast of featured vocalists. Regular collaborator Rouge Mary channels Prince on the euphoric Rejoice, indie queen Sharon Van Etten is melancholy yet optimistic on the percolating title track, and The Horrors’ Faris Badwan brings a dark glamour to the suggestive Controller. Meanwhile, Butler himself leads Fools Wear Crowns, an a_ecting meditation on his addiction. It all adds up to another triumph for H&LA; this is music for the feet that also soothes the soul.

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Out of the Blue: Simon Webbe on why we need to stand up and start talking about mental health. Elsewhere in the issue, Five to Five recreate Take That's iconic Do What U Like video; Julian Clary on embracing one's queerness; celebrated queer actor Cecil Baldwin speaks out against HIV stigma; Shania Twain on the comeback she thought would never happen; Francis Lee on his 'British Brokeback' God's Own Country; an expanded style section that will leave you gagging; plus opinion, travel and much more.