Album Review: Coastal Grooves – Blood Orange

Dev Hynes, the artists formerly known as Lightspeed Champion and ex member of noise punk nu ravers Test Icicles has returned to the fold with a new name and a new sound. Coastal Grooves is the aptly titled debut under the moniker of Blood Orange and after trying his hand at different styles over his career so far it looks like Hynes has found something that really works for him.

Coastal Grooves is a mix of pseudo sixties pop and darkly lit surf rock, deep tightly knit grooves dubby surf guitar work and light disco/funk percussion thrown in here and there is the sound of Blood Orange. And believe me its a sound that works, although commendable a lot of Hynes experimentation came across as pretty scatterbrained. This seems him at his most focused and concentrated and it is easily the best material I’ve heard from the UK musician to date. The music on coastal grooves never really rips you out of your seat and commands your feet to dance but it has a very infectious quality which buries deep beneath your skin. Its a shame that I’ve left it as late as I have to check out this album as its slow burning shuffles would make for the perfect soundtrack to a warm summers night. Preferably in a car with the top down and the breeze blowing gently through your hair. Although lyrically much of Coastal Grooves has Dev Hynes somewhat unusual brand of songwriting stamped on it, for the most part the songs featured ooze a natural coolness about them. A big part of lays within the guitar work featured, whether its from riffs to ring outs the axe work on the album fits the mood, tone and style brilliantly.

Although it feels in places like he’s relying a little too much on his core elements Dev does switch things up a little here and there. For example on “S’cooled” the use of percussion not only throws another element into the mix but it also keeps the track nimble and nifty on its feet. And the keys used in album closer “Champagne Coast” gives a more suppressed, chilled out vibe.

In short im liking this record a lot it shows a lot of thought, heart and potential while at the same engaging you as a fun and well constructed album. This is definetly the direction in which Dev Hynes needs to keep heading, further more theres plenty of room to add and improve. This could very well be and hopefully is the start of very good things to come.


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The Author

Mal Foster

Mal Foster

Writer by day, ski mask wearing vigilante by night. I like bears, sarcasm and magic, not necessarily in that order. Rather fond of summer fruits mixed into some kind of refreshing juice, movies, music and videogames. Also I may not be entirely human. Visit my site -