Album: Lightspeed Champion, Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You (Domino)

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The Independent Culture

Lightspeed Champion's 2008 debut, Falling off the Lavender Bridge, perhaps presented Devonté Hynes in too folksy a light; judging by the much broader palette of Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You, he's clearly one of those musicians whose restless muse can lead him anywhere: in this case, into an eclectic mélange of country, classical, pop, prog and chunky new-wave stylings whose closest comparison is the Todd Rundgren of A Wizard, a True Star.

Sometimes, it's as if he's deliberately posing himself problems of musical congruency, such as the assembly of ukulele, oboe, piano, guitar and sleigh bells in "There's Nothing Underwater", or the way the stalking bass and tiptoeing pizzicato strings of "Faculty of Fears" are relieved by chummy country-pop chording. There's even a Greek chorus brusquely dismissing his self-obsessed plaints in "The Big Guns of Highsmith" with periodic cries of "Oh, just stop complaining!", evidence of a mind impatient to move on. The results range from the Morricone-esque Western canter of "Sweetheart" and the Blur-style manoeuvres of "Middle of the Dark" to the classicism of "Etude Op 3: 'Goodnight Michalek'".

Download this Dead Head Blues; There's Nothing Underwater; Middle of the Dark; Smooth Day (at the Library)