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Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You.

Lightspeed Champion

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Album Review

With a track listing that is split into four sides like a vinyl double-album, two instrumental "Intermission" tracks, a cover shot designed to look like it was placed in an old-timey photo album — not to mention the video for "Marlene," which centers around singer/songwriter Devonte Hynes getting dragged around the desert in a tragi-comic, Harold Lloyd kind of way — Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You seems at first like a concept album soundtrack for an imagined Lightspeed Champion film. Conceptual conceits aside, Lightspeed Champion's 2010 sophomore effort Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You finds Hynes and producer Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Christina Aguilera) delivering a robust, melodically rich, and lyrically complex album that goes well beyond the bedroom Baroque pop of his 2007 debut Falling Off the Lavender Bridge. In that sense, Hynes has developed nicely as a vocalist since Lavender Bridge, and where he was once a pleasant, if somewhat lo-fi presence as a singer, he now splits the difference between the earnest, literate ache of Ed Harcourt and the theatrical croon of Rufus Wainwright. This newfound, angsty swagger and urbane, chic persona fits Hynes well and rubs brilliantly against such yearning and epic pop numbers as "Faculty of Fears" and "I Don't Want to Wake Up Alone." These are huge, Motown-sounding set pieces that frame Hynes as a male Dusty Springfield backed by symphonic strings, jangly guitars, and urgent, driving percussion. Elsewhere, tracks like the melancholy ballad "Smooth Day (At the Library)" and "Middle of the Dark" mix analog-sounding synths, plinky piano, sizzlingly mournful guitar solos, and Hynes' blissed-out soulman-meets-ELO's Jeff Lynne-vibe with superb results.

Customer Reviews

FORGET IT

Hey fans of Lightspeed Champion, I thought "forget it" (i am not your savior...) was going to be on ths CD. Does anyone know where I can get this? Or is this song Dev's side gig Blood Orange?
Oh, and this CD rocks. not as much as first one, but I'm sure I'll love it as much when i listen to it a million times like I did the first one.

A very, very strong second outing.

When I first listened to Lightspeed Champion, I fell in love with him because he was deliciously ridden with angst. Every song was dripping with thick globs of sorrow and depression and it was for that I loved him. But when I heard he moved to a new city and got a girlfriend, I was quite skepticle. But when I heard this album I was greatly impressed. Everything I loved about him is still intact and he's actually gotten better.

Falling Off the Lavender Bridge was good but suffered from repetitious drum beats amongst other things and repetition was most noticalbe in "Midnight Surprise". But in this album you can see him try to branch out and try his best not to repeat. Granted, there is some but it's minimal and is too small to be noticed in the scope of the entire album. And in lieu of all the repetition he's replaced it with more complex piano and singing pieces and also his string arrangements have grown to be monumentally better than before.

The entire album reeks of resolve and strength (Emmy the Great is now replaced by a male chorus) and there is a lot of benefit in that. But what makes me so happy with Life is Sweet! is that it's still just as depressed as the Lavender Bridge was but in a better way. The album starts strongly and keeps that momentum all the way through the middle and finishes even stronger with "Middle of the Dark".

There are however some downsides to this release. There are a couple of filler tracks (the intermissions) and the album is so lengthy that it's hard to handle it all at once. The length can be overlooked though because this album has a strong orchestral, opera-musical feel to it. It's hard to put into words but it would be quite easy to create a whole musical out of this album full of dancing and, of course, including a full string arrangement, piano and all the other instruments used.

In short, if you were a fan of the first album, you will not be disappointed.

Forget it!

i love this album! its different and really cool i love Lightspeed Champion but if any of you have watched "It's on with Aelxa Chung" he performed "Forget it" and its not on this album! if you know where it is, please let me know!!!

Biography

Formed: Houston, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

After the experimental rock group Test Icicles disbanded in 2006, Devonte 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...
Full Bio
Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You., Lightspeed Champion
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