‘Freetown Sound’ – the third album to come from Dev Hynes as Blood Orange – is a mixtape mash-up of the personal and political, as confusing as it is inspired. Hynes is something of a Jack-of-all-musical-trades – songwriter for the stars-cum-solo-artist-cum-composer-cum-producer of charity gigs (last year he curated two sold-out charity shows at the Apollo Theater) – and this professional nomadism is apparent on this record. It’s a complex collage of voices and ideas, layered with references to musical and political movements and specific historical periods.
At its best, it is clever and twisted: carefully choreographed layers of timeless pop that build to offer a searing critique on the shitty state of the world (see the opening ‘By Ourselves’ and ‘Desiree’). But there are some bum notes too, and at its worst (‘But You’, ‘Hands Up’) ‘Freetown Sound’ is trite and mawkish and far too sugary sweet. Then again, this is a kaleidoscopic tour of Hynes’ inner world, and who am I to say that he’s not as sweet as he is clever?
Loud And Quiet needs your help
The COVID-19 crisis has cut off our advertising revenue stream, which is how we’ve always funded how we promoted new independent artists.
Now we must ask for your help.
If you enjoy our articles, photography and podcasts, please consider becoming a subscribing member. It works out to just £1 per week, to receive our next 6 issues, our 15-year anniversary zine, access to our digital editions, the L&Q brass pin, exclusive playlists, the L&Q bookmark and loads of other extras.