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Blood Orange

blood-or

Cupid Deluxe

Domino

The evolution of Dev Hynes hits a heady peak on the new Blood Orange release, Cupid Deluxe. After the punk rock implosion of Test Icicles and a couple of earnest indie rock recordings under the Lightspeed Champion moniker, Hynes adopted a more dance-oriented, new wave sound for 2011’s underrated Blood Orange debut, Coastal Grooves.

Hynes’ dabbling with an accessible pop sound has had a big influence on Cupid Deluxe, which confidently combines all that he has learnt into one big, bubbling funk-pop-dance cauldron. The mix of melancholy subject matter and upbeat pop instrumentation that made Coastal Grooves so alluring is potently realised on this follow-up.

As the album progresses, the guest musicians become more prominent. It’s unusual that Hynes’ most definitive work is also his most guest-heavy, though perhaps this is a sign that collaborating is where his strength lies. Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth delivers a star turn in the Clams Casino-infused No Right Thing, while girlfriend and Friends vocalist Samantha Urbani duets on the delicate, soothing It Is What It Is.

It’s soft, emotive and seductive; close to one of the best albums of 2013. Just ignore any reviews calling it ‘chillwave’. Let’s agree to never use that word again, shall we?

 CHRIS GIRDLER

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