CD Review: Hercules and Love Affair — Blue Songs; Playing Aaron’s Amphitheatre, August 23

Hercules and Love Affair
Blue Songs
Moshi Moshi Records

By Al Kaufman

Hercules and Love Affair never got memo issued some 30 years ago that simply stated, “Disco is dead.” This is a band that likes its music to pump and thump and bump. Listen to “Answers Come in Dreams” and listen to what can only be the second coming of Grace Jones. Then just pull up to the bumper, baby.

That’s not to say fans of the bands 2008 self-titled debut are not going to notice some changes. New York DJ Andy Butler, the brains and soul behind the band, has gone for a more “mature” sound this time out. Translation: not every track on here is a club hit. Also, gone are lead singers Antony Hegarty and Tim Goldsworthy. They are replaced by Venezuelan Aerea Negrot and former fan Shaun Wright, who know their way around a dance track, but are just as comfortable slowing it down, as they do on “Boy Blue” — which includes some pretty guitar strumming — and Eastern tinged “Blue Songs,” which sprinkles in some clarinet.

But is really just about jacking up beats and laying down rhythms. They play them up on “Painted Eyes” and “Falling.” Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke lends his chops to “Step Up,” which moves through a Depeche Mode sound with the simple refrain of “Go.”

It’s obvious that disco bands should not worry their spangly selves with silly things like world problems. When Hercules tries with the ballad “It’s Alright,” the results are disastrous. After giving a laundry list of wars and devastation, they reason, “It’s gonna be alright because the music plays forever, on and on.” It’s more simplistic than a Barney episode and about as engaging.

But come on, all these guys want to do is dance. They get the point across on “Visitor.” In front of the futuristic sound effects, they state their case plainly. “No time to stand, it’s time to jump/No time to sleep, it’s time to bump.” Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Hercules and Love Affair play Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood as part of the Identity Tour, with Kaskade and Rusko & The Disco Biscuits, on August 23.


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