Lightspeed Champion – Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You (Domino) 15/02/2010

February 24, 2010 by  

You will not find a more feathered indie bow than folk troubadour’s Dev Hyne’s. The former new rave instigator (Test Icicles) made the perfect transition from nu rave noise merchant to twee folk crooner back in 2007, and has stuck to his alt-folk for his second solo effort ‘Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You’. Apart from the brief stint as an Elvis impersonator a couple of months ago Hynes has been out of the public eye for some time now. It seems this hiatus has lead to this behemoth of a record, which weighs in at a hefty 15 songs.

During the recording of his d?but solo LP, Falling Of The Lavender Bridge, the singer was holed up In the mountains with Bright Eyes, and the effect was plain to see as Dev channelled their Americana folk twang into almost every song. On Life Is Sweet!, Dev seems to be finding his own folk voice and style, and injects it with some welcome immediacy and anglicised tones.

This not to say the album is departure form the first; it’s more of a natural progression. The album opens with ‘Dead Head Blues’, which is the sort of mellow folk tale you would expect, but this time it builds into a expansive ode complete with string backdrops and as the album immediately continues with previous single, ‘Marlene’, It’s clear Dev’s song writing has been developed during his absence.

There is still plenty of twee folk on this album and the usual cryptic narratives. Yet, this time Dev seems to have upped the gravity of his lyrics. On the new LP you won’t find such throwaway titles such as All My Friends Are Into Crunk. Instead Dev is self depreciating and almost plaintive. In a recent interview he remarked that the record marked his transition form New York nobody to assured Yankee, and it’s with this new lyrical focus and narrative that the album draws its main strength from. Add to this the departure of Emmy The Great on backing vocals and the improved musicianship, Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet you finds Lightspeed Champion firmly in his ascension as a solo artist.

However, the inclusion of interludes and the sheer volume of tracks is the album’s only downfall. If only he’d left some of the filler on the chopping room floor the album would be a perfect continuation of his folk output.