Friday, 4 February 2011

Recommended Music: 'Blue Songs' by Hercules & Love Affair

The second album from Andy Butler and his tribe brings a level of sophistication and class that is, sadly, rarely found in dance music today. More mature than their debut, Blue Songs evolves into an exploration of the history of house music - witness 'My House', with its classic deep house bass line that will take you back to the mid-80s with ease. It's less in your face NY disco, although opener 'Painted Eyes' evokes the spirit of Sylvester, and more classic house sound of Chicago.

With no Antony Hegarty on board this time, vocals are shared between Kim Ann Foxman, Shaun Wright, Aerea Negrot and guest Kele Okereke (on 'Step Up'). There's room for more than just straight to the floor dance here though - 'Boy Blue' features acoustic guitars and trumpets over a gently throbbing bass backing, while 'Blue Songs', sung by Butler himself', is a gently melodic song with a deep bass line and what may well be a clarinet.

After those 2 tracks the album picks up the pace again. 'Falling' reminds me of Byron Stingly, and 'Step Up' is probably everything Okereke wanted his solo album to be but wasn't.

The album ends with its most surprising moment - a fragile and beautiful version of Sterling Void's classic 'It's Alright' (you might remember the Pet Shop Boys cover if you don't know the original). As the album closer, it's a perfect, gentle comedown after the night at the club that's preceeded it.

The album is out now on Moshi Moshi Records. If you want to hear some of Andy Butler's influences, he's done a great mix for Fact Magazine that you can listen to below.

FACT mix 218 - Hercules & Love Affair (Jan '11) by factmag

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