Devonte Hynes is a fairly creative fellow. When not whoring his talents to the likes of Florence Welch and Diana Vickers, he’s been better known as Lightspeed Champion – a moniker with which he’s released two albums of meticulously orchestrated pop. Now, in something of an about turn, he unleashes Blood Orange – a vehicle for laptop beats and funky self-indulgence.
Take opening track ‘Forget It’. Setting out a template of spindly guitars, clipped vocals and motorik drums, the song shows early promise before careening into the most throwaway of guitar solos. Sadly the bar remains low here after. For you see Coastal Grooves failure comes not from its content, but its delivery. Pieced together from rough strewn demos, the album never escapes its bedroom beginnings. On tracks such as ‘Instantly Blank’, ideas sound under developed and incomplete. ‘Can We Go Inside Now’ suffers from a similar sparseness. Overall, the collection is not without its merits. ‘Sutphin Boulevard’ for example, grooves with all the cocksure bravado of Prince after dark. Likewise ‘S’Cooled’ is a welcome showcase for Hynes’ guitar playing chops.
In the end this is the sound of side-project escapism. Perhaps that’s all Blood Orange was meant to be but the novelty of a ‘side-project’ wears off pretty quick.