Album Review: Horse Meat Disco – ‘Love And Dancing’

FROM their revered tenancy that began on New Year’s Day, 2004 at The Eagle in Vauxhall, DJs Luke Howard, Severino Panzetta, James Hillard and Jim Stanton – collectively known as Horse Meat Disco – have grown into disco titans loved across the globe.

The inclusive attitude of their self-described “queer party for all” attracts an open-minded crowd, which also extends to the music; all facets of disco, from pop to cosmic to rock to soul to Afro and beyond, are explored and accepted.

Following numerous compilations, mixes, remixes and untold parties, they have now pooled their considerable knowledge and dancefloor nous into a debut album of their own mirrorball highlighted tracks. 

Love And Dancing arrives at a time when disco is having a genuine mainstream moment (see Roisin Murphy’s new album) but actual discos have never been more dead. When clubs around the world should rightly be bumping with the sound, it’s a bittersweet period for a genre that’s constantly flipped in and out of fashion, but not influence, since its birth in the 1970s.

The grooves move from more funk-flavoured tracks like opener “Let’s Go Dancing” and the inspired “Jump Into The Light”, to chuggy electro on “Sanctuary” (with The Phenomenal Handclap Band), post-punk new-waver “Burn”, high energy horn-laden “Spacebound”, early house music on “Fight for Love” and last-song-of-the-night slow jam, “Home”.

Horse Meat Disco bring in a wealth of talent to provide the album’s voice; including Amy Douglas, solo artist on DFA and numerous nu-disco records; Acid Jazz vets Valerie Etienne and N’dea Davenport (Brand New Heavies) and a legit disco legend in the form of Kathy Sledge (of Sister Sledge).

The production is solid throughout, with incredible attention to detail. The roots may come from the late 70s and early 80s, but don’t take Love And Dancing to be a photocopy or even homage to the era; it’s firmly based in 2020.

Turned up loud, as it should be, it’s an overwhelmingly positive and uplifting experience. There’s an overall feeling, as in all the best clubs, of being welcomed, safe to let go of the everyday and be yourself. It’s double album duration is extensive, but both love and dancing are things we desperately need more of right now. 

Love and Dancing is out now digitally, and on 4xLP on October 19th, on Glitterbox Recordings.

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