DJ Andy Butler has made some adjustments to Hercules And Love Affair. Butler is no longer collaborating with Antony Hegarty of Antony And The Johnsons or DFA’s Tim Goldsworthy. Vocalists Aerea Negrot and Shaun Wright have joined Kim Ann Foxman, and the band has also added producer Mark Pistel of Meat Beat Manifesto.
Blue Songs reflects more than the band’s lineup changes, as Hercules And Love Affair has moved away from the fast-paced disco of its self-titled 2008 LP and toward more mellow house music. That can be disappointing at first, but after the second or third listen Blue Songs has a much more coherent tone. The 2008 LP was all over the place, but with Blue Songs Foxman and Butler have gotten comfortable in their own skins as they focus more on getting their sound just right.
Even without Hegarty, Blue Songs still has its fair share of contributions. Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke collaborated with Butler on the impossibly catchy club song “Step Up,” and Butler and the band cover 1980s house artist Sterling Void’s “It’s Alright” as the album’s closer. While the 2008 LP had its great songs like “Blind,” it also had some very forgettable tracks. Blue Songs may not have an incredible single, but it does give you a collection of 11 solid songs.