Record review: Blood Orange, Coastal Grooves

The artist formerly known as Lightspeed Champion, aka Devonte Hynes, is all funk and groove as Blood Orange.

Coastal Grooves still holds the signposts of a Hynes work; the harrowingly emotional vocals, the often intimately awkward lyrics and the musical melting pot of styles and genres with every expectation that the listener is intelligent enough to understand the subtleties of his music. A decade traipsing record, it takes in everything from psych-tinged guitar licks on Are You Sure You’re Really Busy? to 80s dance in stripped back beats on Champagne Coast

There’s a lot to love on this record, as it goes from the sultry slinkiness of Sutphin Boulevard to the more straightforward guitar and synth interplay of I’m Sorry We Lied, soundtracking a tenderly innocent romance with the music building as the narrative plays out. Hynes is unafraid of sudden tempo changes, with the guitar riffing of Can We Go Inside Now providing background to a tale of teenage seduction and misadventure.

The tone of the record is optimistically downbeat as Hynes breathlessly croons both the salacious and the sad stories with equal charisma. Complete Failure captures the nature effortlessly, as its unassuming softness allows the fiddly bass to escape notice until the final moments whilst Hynes sounds heartbroken yet confident simultaneously.

Coastal Grooves is introspective and chilled, meant to be soaked in and not expected to slap the listener across the face.

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