Review of Bye Bye EP by Lightspeed Champion

Opening with ''Til I Die', a Beach Boys cover with a dreamy kind of Flaming Lips meets Blur circa Think Tank album vibe; composer, songwriter, producer and musician Devonté Hynes, better known as Lightspeed Champion, immediately evidences his 'Bye Bye' EP as a multi-timbral, experimental offering. Combining strummed acoustic guitar, bass and drums with squelching low synths over which dreamy chorused vocals meander, Lightspeed Champion offers his version of ''Til I Die' as a weird hallucinogenic blend.

Onto 'Underwater There Is Nothing', a reworking of a similarly titled track from his February-released album, Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You, there's a contrasting feel; one which blends a hectic and uncomfortable, meandering accompaniment and prominent hi-hat punctuation with weary vocals. Certain sections of the track sound luscious, well-arranged parts with Latin/Bossa feel contrasting smoother sections; yet in other sections, the hectic instrumentation almost smothers the vocal melody. Throughout both 'Underwater There Is Nothing' and 'Bye Bye Icarus' which follows, interjections of strings and particularly accordion bring a kind of continental feel to the tracks. Again, the busy accompaniment of 'Bye Bye Icarus' suffocates the largely spoken (rather than sung) vocals, except for glimpses where strings and/or accordion double or imitate the vocals.

Lightspeed Champion Bye Bye EP

Much like the rest of the EP, 'The Mess You're In' offers a similar experimental and to some extent theatrical feel through its musical accompaniment. It's evident that whilst the tracks of Lightspeed Champion's 'Bye Bye' EP extensively explore instrumentation, they never really develop into particular or significant melodies and therefore the songs on this offering have an unfortunate tendency to merely ramble along. Multi-timbral, yes, but also hap-hazard and disappointing.

Hannah Spencer

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