Album Review: Lightspeed Champion – Life Is Sweet Nice To Meet You

Nathanael Arnott-Davies 18 February 2010

Lightspeed Champion (real name Devonte Hynes) has never been a Prince Charming. Any hopes that this may have changed with his second album are dashed by the opening ‘Dead Head Blues’, a string infused track about a lost love. Could we expect anything less from the unluckiest lover in pop?

On the album’s first single ‘Marlene’, Hynes delivers an upbeat and convincing tale of being trapped in a relationship. And on ‘There’s Nothing Underwater’, the ukulele comes out for what is arguably the strongest of the record’s 15 tracks. This is the self styled “Chamber Popstar” at his best.

Yet as with his last album, most of Life is Sweet… is enjoyable if taken with an amount of salt usually only found on McDonald’s chips. Indeed Hynes regularly played the Star Wars theme when touring his last album.

Lightspeed has made a career on strolling that fine line between charming love song and melodramatic, orchestral dirge. The two ‘intermissions’ on Life is Sweet… suggest Hynes himself may recognise the category of anonymous love songs much of his music falls into. Indeed the piano solo on ‘The Big Guns of Highsmith’ sounds suspiciously like one of those pre-recorded clips you could blurt out at the touch of a button on a keyboard in Year 9. ‘Smooth Day’, ‘I Don’t Want to Wake Up Alone’ and ‘Middle of the Dark’ all fall into this category, with only ‘Faculty of Fears’ redeeming itself through its catchiness.

On the whole, Life is Sweet… is perfectly fine, but it offers nothing that hasn’t been done better many times before.

Nathanael Arnott-Davies