Known for his work with Solange, Sky Ferreira and his varied indie-rock projects (Lightspeed Champion, Test Icicles), Devonté Hynes is a provocatively difficult dude to pigeonhole. He opens his second album as Blood Orange like he's the Weeknd's less-stoned brother: "Chamakay" is a lush, dubby R&B joint led by what could be a giant kalimba, capped off with a tease of saxophone. Then it's antsy funk with traces of Talking Heads and Chic ("You're Not Good Enough"), jazzy choral soul ("Chosen"), and an Eighties Quiet Storm jam with Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth and hip-hop eclectic Clams Casino ("No Right Thing"). Hynes also introduces another adventurous alt-R&B singer, Samantha Urbani, who delivers hot vocals throughout Cupid Deluxe. The hooks are stealthy, and the arrangements make even the retro gestures feel fresh. All totaled, Hynes is a triple threat, a total original and a force to be reckoned with.
From The Archives Issue 1196: November 21, 2013