CD Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You * (CD 6277903),
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Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You *
1. Dead Head Blues
3. There's Nothing Underwater
5. Faculty of Fears
6. Big Guns of Highsmith, The
8. I Don't Want to Wake Up Alone
9. Madame Van Damme
10. Smooth Day (At the Library)
11. Intermission 2
13. Etude Op.3 "Goodnight Michalek"
14. Middle of the Dark
15. Bridge and a Goodbye, A
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): DNO 254
Personnel: Jon Weber , Michael Siddell (violin, strings); Jessie Reagen (cello, strings).
Recording information: Mission Sound Studios, Brooklyn, NY.
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. ~ Matt Collar
Spin (p.86) - "Here, Devonte Hynes pens an indie-rock passion play that picks up the tempo and spotlights his thespian skills."
Alternative Press (pp.94-96) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n album that has an impressive scope and magnitude..."
Billboard - "The single 'Marlene' is a combination of stomping rock and weeping strings....The bustle is enthralling."
Clash (magazine) - "[The album] flirts with invention and uses melody and songcraft to great effect. A solid second record with tinges of brilliance."
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Domino DNO 254
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