Blood Orange: Coastal Grooves (Domino) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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#37 – St. VincentBlood Orange

Coastal Grooves


Aug 30, 2011 Blood Orange Bookmark and Share

Earlier this year Dev Hynes, best know for his work in Test Icicles and as Lightspeed Champion, unleashed the first single under his latest moniker Blood Orange. “Dinner” was co-produced by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor and then released as a tantalizing 7” single on Taylor’s label, Terrible Records. With a much darker spin on early ’90s soul and R&B, “Dinner” was an instantly satisfying retro summer slow-jam, which featured Hynes’ lamenting in his half falsetto, “Hoping that you die unhappy/I’ll do everything I can/To make sure that you are never happy.”

While it was probably foolish for followers of Hynes’ work to assume “Dinner” would somehow predict what Blood Orange’s debut full-length, Coastal Grooves, was gonna sound like (if there’s one thing Hynes isn’t, it’s predictable), it was at least an indication of a major aesthetic shift for the accomplished indie chameleon. Truth is, Coastal Grooves isn’t much like “Dinner” at all, save the record’s first single, “Sutphin Boulevard,” with its hearty New York City nighttime swagger and the album’s gorgeous closer, “Champagne Coast,” where Hynes stacks his best Prince impersonation on top of layers of piano and synths. These two tracks standout amongst eight others that fall short in terms of charm and impact, leaving us with a bizarre cocktail of ’60s surf-guitar rock and synth-driven, wounded, artsy, mishmosh. Coastal Grooves is easy enough on the ears, but the bulk of it doesn’t really connect, and it lacks the melodic gifts and pop sensibilities Hynes so magnificently displayed on “Dinner.” (

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