Devonte Hynes was once in a band called Test Icicles and if you’re aware of that group’s blend of indie-rock, hip-hop and punk, be prepared to be surprised, ‘cause Hynes’s new project Lightspeed Champion is a pretty big change. Instead of the loud guitars that fit well with similar groups like pre-Islands band The Unicorns, Hynes now focuses his talent on creating minimalistic orchestral-like movements with a violin and acoustic guitar.
The melodies are sweet but slightly harsh and pointed—and I mean that in the best of ways. The tunes rock, in a genre-like sense, but it’s not your traditional type of rock thanks to the acoustics. Songs like “Tell Me What It’s Worth”, “All To Shit”, and “Let The Bitches Die” certainly strike out both in title and lyrics; the first is apparently about verbal abuse while the others certainly have their fair share of emotional meaning.
“Galaxy Of The Lost” is an album favorite, as is “Tell Me What It’s Worth”. These songs, as well as others like “Midnight Surprise”, stand out with layered vocals. It’s hard to imagine them without; they’d likely loose much of their luster. And the orchestration throughout the album furthers this phenom. Even a soft song like “Devil Tricks For A Bitch”, which places heavy emphasis on simplicity in vocals and violin and is otherwise fairly minimal, has an intense focus on orchestration. Falling Off The Lavender Bridge is beautifully crafted…
This review was originally published May 27, 2008 on the old version of FensePost.
…And I’d wager Lightspeed Champion’s sophomore follow-up will be no different. That follow up is slated for a 2010 release.
Domino Records [CD, 2008]
1. Number One
2. Galaxy Of The Lost
3. Tell Me What It’s Worth
4. All To Shit
5. Midnight Surprise
6. Devil Tricks For A Bitch
7. I Could Have Done This Myself
8. Salty Water
9. Dry Lips
10. Everyone I Know Is Crunk
11. Let The Bitches Die
12. No Surprise (For Wendela) / Midnight Surprise