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BOTW Review: Blood Orange- ‘Coastal Grooves’

Our BOTW Blood Orange is the creation of Texas born, Essex raised, Dev Hynes and the new project just continues our belief that while you might never know what to expect from the current New Yorker, it will always be amazing. While his past releases have been with a punk trio- Test Icicles, and then guitar based, Lightspeed Champion. It would be best going into any release with his named attached with an open mind and no preconceptions.

Blood Orange’s debut album Coastal Grooves is all ‘80s tinged R&B, pop. Opening track, ‘Forget It’ sets the stage for the more aggressive attitude, rather than the longing after a love of past projects, this songs declares, ‘I am not your saviour baby girl.’ With quick quarter-note guitar work it feels like the type of song to listen to while walking on a hot and sticky city street with a pair of tight jeans on. Following it is the first single, ‘Sutphin Boulevard’, thus named after a stop on the F train on New York’s Subway.Considering most of the album was written for himself for his commutes to and from his production jobs, one can only imagine the type of inspiration gained from a Queens’ subway station.

‘I’m Sorry We Lied’ follows with more drawn out guitars one might associate with California surf and long stretches of highway, while ‘Can We Go Inside Now’ feels like a tip-toe tale of giving up laptops and mobile phones. ‘S’Cooled’ is more slowed down and is music cool kids would kiss to, ‘Complete Failure’ creeps along in the dark with Hynes bringing moments of slight vibrato to his already delicate voice. ‘Instantly Blank (The Goodness)’ is a complete love ballade with declaration of forever love, ‘The Complete Knock’ has more movement to it and comes close to a song to dance to. ‘Are you Sure You’re Really Busy?’ seems a bit tongue and cheek by Hynes as the track runs 4.22 in length, but the bulk of it is an expertly crafted instrumental, almost to tease the listener, if they didn’t have time, why listen? And closer, ‘Champagne Coast’ is absolute beauty with soft notes and Hynes voice at its strongest. It feels warm as it wraps you up and makes you floating away (much like champagne), and is one of those songs that even on first listen you find yourself wishing you could sing along and you’ll even embarrassingly trying.

The entire album feels cased in hot fuzz, and you’ll find yourself putting it on repeat, especially tracks, ‘Sutphin Boulevard’, ‘Can We Go Inside Now’ and ‘Champagne Coast.’

The album came out yesterday, so make sure to get a copy!

-Stevie Pearce

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