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Lightspeed Champion

Galaxy of the Lost

(Domino; US: 6 Nov 2007; UK: Available as import)

Galaxy of the Lost, the debut EP from ex-Test Icicle Dev Hynes, is a far leap from the musician’s previous effort. Never clear as to whether that was primarily a joke, so it’s also not completely transparent in this case. But if the pedigree of musicianship on the effort comes off a bit forthright, earnest and if at times overblown that’s part of Hynes’ new musical mood. Cute British songstress Emmy the Great provides backing vocals, e.g., and the instrumentation’s pure orchestral pop—acoustic guitars, saccharine strings, all that. The title track and first single adequately showcases Hynes’ flitting attention, traipsing with a carefree optimism through various styles of 60s pop nostalgia. Throughout, the chord progressions and melodies are exceedingly familiar, but delivered with a refreshing pop maximalism that’s currently buoying other British acts like Mika. “The Flesh Failures” turns into a deft interpolation of “Aquarius/The Sunshine Song”, a relaxed and more pleading version of the refrain than the original. Occasionally, Hynes’ over-enunciated accent has the twang of pop-punk, but he neatly avoids that fake emotional terrain with deft characterization: “No Surprise (Acoustic Version)” tells the story of a playboy, who’s believably lonely despite all the phone numbers and beds. This all promises something more substantial than “Circle Square Triangle”‘s one-note growl—optimistic and melodious indie pop, marrying twee’s childhood sensibility with a more mature emotional range. Bodes well for the debut full-length, due next year.

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Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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Lightspeed Champion - "Galaxy of the Lost"
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17 Feb 2010
Album number two sees Devonté Hynes move his dewy-eyed melancholy pop from the bedroom to the big time.
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A strong set of orchestral pop from the former Test Icicle.
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