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Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

Leaving the noisy terrain of the Test Icicles behind for the more relaxed territory of the singer/songwriter didn't exactly mellow Dev Hynes. For sure, the sound of his new project, Lightspeed Champion, is softer, with violins, pedal steel, and tender female vocal harmonies (sung by London folk singer Emmy the Great) among other traditional singer/songwriter favorites providing the cottony backing. Recording in Omaha with Mike Mogis (who's run the boards for loads of indie rockers, most notably Bright Eyes) and using a conglomeration of musicians from Tilly and the Wall, the Good Life, and the Faint, it would be hard to come up with a sound that didn't conjure up Bright Eyes and their ilk. It's a rich and cinematic sound with plenty of lovely playing and deft arrangements, made more listenable by Hynes' pleasant melodies. So the sound is softer and the melodies are nice, but Hynes lyrics speak of turmoil and struggle. Indeed, Hynes is not a happy camper. Licking open wounds, being sick in other people's mouths, scratching out eyes, stapling down eyes, being bathed in cold sweat, and shaking with tension are just some of the happy topics Hynes touches on. He generally sounds miserable and depressed as hell; sometimes angry ("Devil Tricks for a Bitch"), sometimes snarky and mean ("Let the Bitches Die"), sometimes just plain morose ("All to S**t"). The disconnect between the gentle and welcoming music and the tense, off-putting lyrics can be a bit much and Hynes is only too aware of this, seeming to take perverse pleasure in going as far as he can lyrically. This underlying sense of humor is one of the saving graces of the record; another is the number of really good songs that don't worry about being "difficult" and reach for real emotions. The melancholy tale of missed love connections "Everyone I Know Is Listening to Crunk" is one of these; "No Surprise" is another. Overall though, Falling Off the Lavender Bridge is a bit of a slog to get through. Maybe amping up the music to match the tone of the lyrics might have given the record the kick it needed; perhaps cutting back on the lyrical excess would have been the fix. Whatever the case may be, what's left is a record with some promise but too many flaws to be truly enjoyable. [Mallory Towers' 2008 edition included one bonus track.]

Customer Reviews

Lightspeed Champion is well er.. champion.

What to make of Dev Hynes' first effort at flying solo? Coming from the trashy, fun and wholesome background of Test Icicles, his change of tact is frankly startling. Moving into the everpopular realm of folk, (Cool folk mind), Lightspeed Champion conveys the "patheticism" of being a young black male in England with supreme aptitude, making you either sympathise or loathe. But it would be reproachably gauche to base Lightspeed solely on his Marmite-like topics, such as falling out of love or... vomiting. However, the musicality of each track is so honestly beautiful that when combined with his almost naively swivet nature, it makes you want to buy this record twofold, and join his galaxy of the lost. P.S. Back to Black cover- wow.

best debut for a long time.

really this album is incredible in just about every way. The lyrics are brilliant and at times it just feels like you're watching a film of your life...wow thats deep but there's not really any otherway to say it. The times only gave it 3 stars in their review but it deserves a lot more. Dev is brilliant and this is some of the most unique stuff i've heard in a while. Really get this album good priceon itunes as well which is always nice. Really well done to everyone involved in this though its an exceptional debut.

Stunning

This album is beautiful. It swells like a tide, with blends of almost rock (Midnight surprise - RECOMENDED!!) to beautiful Nu-Acoustic songs (Galaxy of The Lost). His bad covers ep is worth hunting down as well laters x

Biography

Formed: 2006 in Houston, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

After the experimental rock group Test Icicles disbanded in 2006, Devonté Hynes launched Lightspeed Champion as his own folk-driven project. The new venture allowed him to focus on his love for pop melodies, a fondness that began with Hynes' childhood love of Broadway musicals and, years later, helped sweeten Test Icicles' spastic sound. After writing a batch of new material, Hynes flew to Nebraska to collaborate with Saddle Creek's resident producer, Mike Mogis. Backed by an informal band that included...
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Top Albums and Songs by Lightspeed Champion

Falling Off the Lavender Bridge (Bonus Track Version), Lightspeed Champion
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