Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

by Greg Spencer Rating:6 Release Date:2013-11-18

Blood Orange, or Dev Hynes as he's possibly better known, has been around some time now and not just as an artist in his own right but as a producer and songwriter for others in the business. His latest record, and second under his new pseudonym, is laced with 80s grooves and an understated and melancholic sensibility. It's clear that Hynes is a raw talent, although Cupid Deluxe may not be the best album he'll ever make.

 

The record opens with 'Chamakay', which instantly puts us firmly in Prince territory. The vocals from Caroline Polachek feel transcendent, and when the saxophone kicks in there's something sexy and nostalgic about the whole affair. It's a great opening track as it sets the tone, or de-sets the tone, for the rest of the record and possibly blows out any expectations you may have had about what this record might sound like.

 

The next track, 'You're Not Good Enough', is similar in terms of the pace and general tempo, although now there's a Miami Vice-type vibe underneath the whole thing, which is odd as Hynes has lived in New York for quite a few years now, but the vibrancy shines through.

 

You go through the record and it is genuinely enjoyable. Tracks like 'It is What It is' and 'On the Line' bring out feel-good, R&B vibes and there don't seem to be too many missteps. However the dynamics of the album don't ever change, no single track really jumps out as being game-changing or particularly exciting. 

 

It's all solid stuff but there aren't many indicators that the material here is the greatest that Hynes could write. The final track, 'Time Will Tell', lets the material down. The vocals sound misplaced and it just doesn't really work as an album closer.

 

Overall, Cupid Deluxe never really goes for that breakthrough hit or that knockout blow. It feels as though Hynes is playing it a little safe and it shows. There's never a sense of urgency with this album which is a mighty shame, since Dev Hynes may be one of the most gifted artists working at the moment.  

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