Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

Hercules & Love Affair ft. Mashrou’ Leila – Are You Still Certain?

Yep, just checked — we’re still pretty sure that we like you!


Ian Mathers: Sometimes you just don’t have that much eloquent to say about a song besides “this is great and I’ve listened to it for like a solid half hour now and it’s improved my evening immensely.”

Jessica Doyle: Use headphones! I first tried listening to this on YouTube via desktop speakers, and that was a mistake. With headphones it’s lovely (if slightly lacking in movement), but without them you run the risk of Hamed Sinno’s voice getting buried.

Alfred Soto: Its gentle ripples of sound, produced by synth bass and plucked guitar, recall the studio efforts of the early Reagan era, specifically Quincy Jones’ “Ai No Corrida.” Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila’s soft rock groove has the best kind of lulling effect. 

Maxwell Cavaseno: Hamed Sinno is perhaps the best vocalist that Andy Butler’s been able to court in a long, long time, and you’d hope that working with such a talent would inspire some real effort from Butler, who’s essentially regressed into cliché and disinterest since his sophomore album. Such is not the case, as “Are You Still Certain?” has a glacial vocal married to backing music so trite and chintzy it may as well be the silvery artificial snow left over from last year’s holiday window decorations. It’s not anywhere near as slight as it is unsatisfying.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Not as wonderful as the last philosophically-inclined, internationally fronted piece of post-disco that we covered, but still one hell of a groove. Over an intriguing blend of electric guitars (coming in both needle-picked staccato and chorused-out strums), Hamed Sinno’s set of questions feel deeply melancholy. The lack of answers is a mixed bag — lyrically it’s the right move, but the song never quite hits the climax its first act implies.

Katherine St Asaph: Rides a groove just a shade off from “World in My Eyes.” Doesn’t do much more than ride that groove, but that’s the quibblest of quibbles.

Will Adams: Disco as filtered through a kaleidoscope, where the refracted light is further bent into multi-colored polygonal patterns such that there’s no choice but to give in to the beauty, no matter how surface.

Reader average: [7.5] (2 votes)

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