Blood Orange - Coastal Grooves
This new project for Test Icicles/Lightspeed Champion singer/songwriter Dev Hynes was apparently influenced by the nightlife of his native New York, but was recorded west-side in LA. This trans-coastal influence is evident on Coastal Grooves, which melds the mutant disco rhythms of NY clubs like the Roxy with the spring reverb sound that defines surf rock and spaghetti western soundtracks. The damped reverb picking on single ‘Sutphin Boulevard’ and the mellower ‘Can We Go Inside Now’ counterpoint some nice Oriental guitar lines, the latter sounding like a stoned surf band covering the Yellow Magic Orchestra, while the urgent ‘I’m Sorry We Lied’ marries Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ to Bloc Party. Occasionally, the slick production supersedes the songwriting. ‘S'Cooled’ begins with an intro reminiscent of Indeep’s ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ and ends on an extended coda of layered guitar, but the song is slight. And curiously, despite the Blood Orange moniker, there’s something slightly bloodless about Hynes’s vocals; silky but soulless. On the closing track, ‘Champagne Coast’, he implores a lady to “come into my bedroom”, but is lacking the wooing tones of Isaac Hayes, Barry White or even ‘Gett Off’-era Prince. Overall though, Coastal Grooves is a promising direction for Dev Hynes and works as a fine alternative soundtrack to the summer.