Review of Lightspeed Champion's second album Life is Sweet! Nice To Meet You released through Domino.
The follow up to Dev Hynes' (AKA Lightspeed Champion) debut album 'Falling Off the Lavender Bridge', 'Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You' is more accomplished and much braver than his previous offering.
'Dead Head Blues' is more downcast than one might expect for the start of an album, but has some fantastic lyrical narrative all the same. Hynes is a man you'd like around to tell you a story, that's for sure. 'Marlene' initially sounds more upbeat, but with orders of "stop being cool", you begin to piece together feelings of lost hope and broken relationships. The subject matter is dressed up well with beautiful use of strings and elevated guitars.
'Nothing Under Water' is a more 'typical' Lightspeed Champion track with tuneful acoustic guitars and violins coupled with tender lyrics lamenting about loss. It is a good track that highlights Hynes' strength for pairing good musicality with lyrics that are relatable. It won't be to everybody's tastes, but it deserves a fair hearing.
'Faculty Of Fears' begins with the bass and a solo from Hynes, before the full band kicks in. The track seems to be discussing a luckless night out, declaring "kissing boys and pretending to care/if your heart's screaming take me home/then hail a cab and please turn off your phone". Again, a relatable topic that will have listeners agreeing with every word. This is also one of the most memorable tracks on the album; definitely a contender for the track you should put on first when listening to this album.
'The Big Guns Of Highsmith' highlights how different this album is to Hynes' first outing as a solo artist. It sounds as though it's been picked straight out of a musical; it's all about having fun and being a little bit camp, really. Hynes moans about the state of his life; the male choir retorts with "oh, just stop complaining". Both piano and regular hand clap appearances carry this track well to its conclusion. This is unlikely to have featured in Hynes' earlier work and it's great to see he hasn't rested on his laurels and continues to develop.
In 'Romart', Hynes is back to where he excels; fusing a melody with a piano. One of the slowest tracks on the album, this is pleasant enough but is nothing that we haven't heard before. No criticism there though, for Hynes does what he does to a very high standard.
'I Don't Want To Wake Up Alone' is a ballad that at times is slightly slushy, but has its heart in the right place. With sentimental talk of "if you love me, if you want me, don't ignore me because I don't want to wake up alone", you wonder whether Hynes really has experienced quite this much loss in his life, or if he's just spectacularly good at embellishing.
This album keeps much of the charm that Lightspeed Champion's debut had, but pieces the tracks together much more consistently. There are no 'bad' tracks on this album (overlooking the sometimes pointless musical interludes); it is a thoroughly well written and confident piece of work. Good luck with making the third even better.