The disco troupe that make up Hercules & Love Affair are finally getting the stateside recognition they deserve with the release of Blue Songs. But die-hard fans probably already have the album, given it was released back in January of this year in England. But for those who are new to their love affair, the U.S. version features the original 11-tracks PLUS some extra goodies like bonus tracks and remixes.
First jumping on the radar back in 2008 with their self-titled album, the myth that’s became Hercules and Love Affair was created by NY-based DJ/producer/songwriter Andy Butler, who enlisted members Andrew Butler, Kim Ann Foxman, Aerea Negrot and Shaun Wright for the musical project.
The lead single “My House” is a flashback of deep house music from the late-’80s/early-’90s—with soulful vocals, a vibrant beat, and electro classes that aren’t as heavy as today’s electronic music. “Painted Eyes” features more of an indie rock vibe to it meshed with an ’80s new wave twist. Very danceable and very instrumental, resulting in a beautiful, melodic dance floor jam.
“Step Up” features guest vocalist Kele Okereke of Bloc Party and is somewhat reminiscent of Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam.” But Okereke’s distinct voice makes you wonder if it was a Bloc Party remix of some sort if you didn’t know that you were listening to Hercules & Love Affair. “Falling” is pure disco, with its swooping bass and funky beats that sound like a slower Bee Gees Jam, but its melodic vocals are definitely deep house inspired.
The rest of the tracks feature the same musical foundations: disco grooves and deep house vocals and beats. But there are two slower songs that seem a bit out of the place. “Boy Blue” and “Blue Song” have more chill vibes that totally interrupt your dance high if you’re listening to the album straight through. These tracks should have been placed in the bonus material, really. Since they’re thrown smack in the middle of the album, you’re forced to skip them to get to the more upbeat jams.
The bonus tracks and remixes are actually pretty cool. There’s an XX “Shelter” cover that rocks, along with several “My House” remixes. In all, Blue Songs provides a very throwback feel to dance music that’s not as aggressive as what’s out today, so there’s no need for fist pumping or the shuffle…just lots of foot tapping and head nodding.
Oh, and if you like what you hear, catch Hercules & Love Affair live on their U.S. tour as part of the IDentity Festival this summer that’s traveling across the nation, bringing electronic dance music to the masses!
Words: Kristie Bertucci
FREE mp3 download “Painted Eyes” – Download here