Hercules and Love Affair – Blue Songs (Moshi Moshi)

February 11, 2011 by  

Releasing their debut album three years ago, the club collective stemming from New York’s underground disco scene, made it onto practically everyone’s best of lists and their instant dance classic ‘Blind’ triumphed them as the biggest house divas of 2008.

The band, now comprised of five members, is no longer a DFA band; instead the album is being released on Butler’s own MR INTL, in collaboration with UK label Moshi Moshi. On their last album, Hercules and Love Affair’s producer and DJ, Andrew Butler, along with Antony Hegarty (from Anthony and the Johnsons) and Nomi Ruiz, used mellow vocals to highlight the underlying melancholy of Butler’s interpretation of disco. Hegarty (whose vocal is sorely missed on this album) is now replaced by new recruits; Venezualen born and Berlin based singer and songwriter Aerea Negrot and fan turned member Shaun Wright. The resulting sound has shifted noticeably from their distinct 70s disco towards the mid 80s and early 90s, reflecting an architecture of minimalistic house music into a more modern vehicle.

The band’s new experimentation and development especially shines through on ‘Blue Boy’ which amost resembles a progressive ballad, with its combination of lofty sentiment and acoustic guitars.

‘Step up’, features guest vocals from Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, arguably one of the most famous to contribute on the album, and is one of the most melody-friendly and catchy tracks, with a hollow bassline and gentle beats and bleeps. Their first single of the album, ‘My House’, is an electronically bent, Chicago-house pearl elegantly accompanied with Shaun Wright’s soulful vocals.

Even though the band has dived into new explorations of the house and disco genres, you can still recognize the distinct Hercules and Love Affair beat, bass and horns accompanied by poppy synths and keyboards. ‘Blue Songs’ might not be for everyone and even the most experienced “house pro” may have difficulty absorbing the amount of dance being served on this album.

Their enthusiasm for the great vintage disco scene may have cooled down a little bit, but it’s essentially a lot like before: melancholic, grimy and dark adult disco at its finest. ‘Blue Songs’, might lack a killer standout track similar to ‘Blind’ (which is not an easy track to reach the glorious heights of), but it’s a sleek package of ominous, funky and well crafted tracks, leading you onto an emotional journey and a formidable tribute of dance music.

[rating:3]


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