There are few 80s-born artists who can claim to have consistently outlived outskirt-indie trends and maintained relevance, but Devonté “Dev” Hynes is one of them. It’s been a tumultuous ride in which – even ignoring his more recent escapades as an NYC producer for Solange and Sky Ferreira among others – he’s been at the forefront of daft Day-Glo punk (Test Icicles) and reinvented himself as an ushanka-wearing folky (Lightspeed Champion). While his first album under the Blood Orange moniker was ultimately a little cold to be considered a 2011 favourite, it was another intriguing evolution; one that saw icy guitar lines cut through absorbingly skinny arrangements.

This sophomore is a tangible next step after ‘Coastal Grooves’, but an altogether different beast that sees his rather odd path result in something far more spectacular. As Hynes’ critics had hoped, the sensitive sentiment of ‘Falling off the Lavender Bridge’ is coupled with the confidence and experimentalism of ‘Coastal Grooves’ to create a blissfully sleek world that’s both emotive and surprising. Coincidentally landing in a year which has seen guest-heavy records beguile, Hynes has also enlisted some rather exceptional help here – David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Samantha Urbani (Friends), Clams Casino, Despot, Adam Bainbridge (Kindness) and Skepta all feature on an LP that is, if anything, more cohesive and unrestrained than the of-the-year-worthy offerings from Daft Punk or Disclosure.

World beats, hot sax and the alluring coo of Polachek decorate first single ‘Chamakay’ – the blueprint for ‘Cupid Deluxe’ – but Hynes somehow manages to match its heady heights consistently thereafter, in a way that he’s perhaps struggled to previously. ‘You’re Not Good Enough’’s smooth R’n’B puts Haim’s debut in perspective, ‘Uncle Ace’ echoes Nile Rodgers at his most brilliant and ‘Always Let U Down’ sounds how Sean Nicholas Savage might if he developed a penchant for the vinyl scratch. Off kilter and as sexy and 80s-like as Twin Shadow’s ‘Confess’, this is arguably Dev’s most daring and distinguished work.


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