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One Song

'Boy Blue' by Hercules and Love Affair

August 30, 2011
  • The band Herclues and the Love Affair.
The band Herclues and the Love Affair. (Jimmy Edgar, Jimmy Edgar )

Hercules and Love Affair

"Boy Blue"

Sometimes on an album, there's one song that reaches the dream ideation of a band's sound, and the rest of the songs only blanche in comparison. "Boy Blue" from Hercules and Love Affair's problematic sophomore effort is such a song. The musical project spearheaded by New York's Andy Butler first turned heads in 2008 with its melancholy disco debut, memorably centered on vocals from the saddest swan of the dance floor, Antony Hegarty. On Hercules' latest, "Blue Songs," Butler and crew try to find the meditative pulse in the otherwise frenetic beat of deep house music ripped straight from the Frankie Knuckles era, with mixed results. "Boy Blue" is one of the quiet successes, a sumptuous suite that opens with lush guitar and then twists and turns around new member Shaun Wright's aching then strong vocals, eventually lifting off into the kind of transcendental bliss that disco philosopher Arthur Russell spent a lifetime chasing. Perfect for the taxi cab ride home alone, in the darkest hour before the dawn.

—Margaret Wappler

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