Being a former Test Icicle, it's great that both Dev and Rory Atwell are bringing out records around the same time for their new projects. Ditching his last moniker Lightspeed Champion which encapsulated teen angst, Blood Orange sees a more upbeat side to Dev Hynes with catchy guitar riffs that sometimes sound funky and other times eastern influenced with softer vocals to compliment. He has a condition called synesthesia which means he has the ability to see sounds and this is the first time he has incorporated this into his music. This is one of those records that wears its influences on its sleeve, 80s pop runs throughout the album and leaps onto the album artwork.
'Coastal Grooves' essentially sounds like stumbling into a New York party in the 80s. At the start, you're slightly tipsy and dancing around like an idiot but by the end you just want to pass out in somebody else's bed. On parts of the album, you could almost confuse Dev's vocals for female vocals due to the falsetto nature. Single 'Sutphin Boulevard' sounds smouldering as well as playful, bringing a sexy nature that hasn't been showcased often before in Dev's musical projects. It feels as if 'Sutphin Boulevard' is the early climax of a party and then everything starts to awkwardly mellow out. On 'Champagne Coast', Dev whines 'come to my bedroom, come to my bedroom', sounding like a desperate plea for someone to keep him warm at night. Dev Hynes can do no wrong, 'Coastal Grooves' carries on the theme of nostalgic records this year, a tribute to the past but with a futuristic twist.
By Aurora Mitchell