Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

Dev Hynes’ next grand transformation goes straight for the bullseye.

Label: Domino

Rating:

If Zoolander was an actual thing (and let’s face it, the satire probably isn’t that far out), all its characters would be playing Blood Orange’s ‘Cupid Deluxe’ to death. Its sound - and its makers - are so hot right now. But beyond the New York heritage and overwhelming loved up rejoice, Dev Hynes’ latest record is more than just something for ‘kids who can’t listen to music good’.

Hynes is a chameleon. This isn’t an insult, by any means. He’s just on trend, capable of picking up on movements and ideas light years ahead of most musicians who forcibly glue their ear to the ground in order to stay ahead of the pack. With first band Test Icicles, he ended up being the most punk thing around. The flash-in-the-pan band’s spiky jams and tastelessly bright gear was so intentionally uncool it ended up setting the agenda. MySpace? Dev saw it coming. He even made folk jumpers and breezy acoustic songs a big ambitious thing before the Mumfords snapped the same thing up, watered it down and launched it into stadiums.

‘Cupid Deluxe’ is Hynes’ next grand transformation. The hip sheen of his first Blood Orange record is amplified tenfold, refined into something more substantial but ultimately more simple. Collaborating with Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, Kindness’ Adam Bainbridge and Friends’ Samantha Urbani, his love potions become collaborative, lending to a more potent dose in the process.

Cupid shoots his heart-decorated arrow straight for the bullseye. A lot of this record might come off crass, its romance too obvious - but that’s the point. In a song like ‘It Is What It Is’, ideas are purified, Urbani and Hynes’ declarations pronounced with so much feel, it’s like joining the pair in a steamy hotel room. Its intentions are honest, its end goal clear as day. Interspersed with the swoonsome opener ‘Chamakay’and the  Safari-rooted trip of the Dave Longstreth-featuring funk strut ‘No Right Thing’, Hynes has ditched the pretences. Doing it with a little help from his friends, he’s easily landed on his best album yet, out of any guise taken on in the last 10 years.