People have a problem with Devonté Hynes. Even back when he was growing up in Romford, Essex, kids had issues. Hynes was on the football team, but he painted his nails; he played basketball, but he also played the cello; he loved hip hop, but he loved Marilyn Manson. This was apparently both baffling and annoying. These days he still defies categorisation. Starting off as a member of the funked-up punk trio Test Icicles, he then recorded his orchestrated troubadour persuasions as Lightspeed Champion.
Now living in Brooklyn, he’s entered phase three. Hynes has written songs for Diana Vickers and worked with Theophilus London – piquing the interest of Solange Knowles, on whose third album he’s currently working. Hynes also consults for Jay-Z’s Rocawear label; somewhere online there’s a brilliant snap of the man eating a bag of chips… sitting with Florence Welch and Beyoncé.
The highlights are many – the light-as-air, overlapping refrains of ‘The Complete Knock’ with its Super Mario-worthy synth breakdown and the plinked out harmonics of ‘S’Cooled’.