Album Review

Brent Andermann

The record is a blur to listen to.

Devonte Hynes is a man conflicted. The critical success of his previous band, Test Icles, left a lot of burden on his shoulders. It is for the better it seems though that he had to endure this pressure. He now has a stronger voice in his songwriting and has more vibrantly laid a foundation for a sustainable career rather than riding the back of hype.

On Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You Hynes takes up the reins of his 80s British indie pop forefathers (The Smiths and Pulp) but marries it with folk rock in the likes of Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield. Also you hear hints of post punk and a certain groove on the lead single, “Marlene,” that was absent on his debut, Falling Of The Lavender Bridge. This is by no means a reinvention, but it is a more concise line drawn in the sand between Lightspeed Champion and all of Hynes’ previous and current projects. There in lies his strength, his confidence and unabashed conviction in his work.

Although the song “Faculty of Fears” is referencing Lucia Pamela and crazy old crones, it also talks about the conflict between what the heart and mind want. Hynes’ moral,one could only guess, is that at some point you have to make a decision. This could be pure storytelling or it could be autobiographical via storytelling. That’s for you to decide.

With all that said, the record is a blur to listen to. You reach the end without realizing it and this, my friends, is very much to a fault. The tracks “Intermission” and “Intermission 2” don’t break up the monotony as a intermission usually would. They are only silly indulgences and spare change for a bus that will never come. Even the orchestration and choral sing alongs on tracks like “The Big Guns of Highsmith” and “Romart” are a bit tired and trying. By the time anything interesting comes along (the acoustic rambler “Sweetheart”) you’re already half lulled towards a decent nap.