REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Slinky second album from musical chameleon Blood Orange (Dev Hynes)

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Fusing Prince, 80s jazz sax, grime together with an eclectic collection of guest vocals,
Cupid Deluxe is a gloriously sensual exploration of love and funk

blood-orange-cupid-deluxe-2013Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe

Out Now 8/10

Released in November
Cupid Deluxe seemed to have slipped under the radar of the Best of 2103 lists, having defined the sound of pop in 2013 Dev Hynes was having a sensation year. Producing work for Mutya Keisha Siobhan (the original Sugababes), scoring Gia Coppola's movie Palo Alto, out early next year follow up 2012’s highlights in which he launched Sky Ferreira's pop stardom with
Everything is Embarrassing and Solange's
Losing You. Then tragedy struck, in December he lost everything in an apartment fire, including his beloved puppy Cupid. Listening to
Cupid Deluxe you can’t help imaging what a different album it could have been and what the future will hold for Hynes.
Cupid Deluxe features a number of guest appearances including David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Caroline Polachek (Chairlift), Samantha Urbani (Friends), Clams Casino, Despot, Adam Bainbridge (Kindness) and Skepta. Moving on from his days as Test Icicles and Lightspeed Champion
Cupid Deluxe shows a more assured and fully realized sound than his previous album. Opening with
Chamakay featuring guest vocals from Chairlift's Caroline Polachek, it is a track that seamless transcends different genres with its contrasting vocal duet and 80s smooth saxophones. Single,
You’re Not Good Enough is probably the best song that Prince never wrote, its slap bass gives it a sexy, slinky feel while the lyrics provide a contrast with the songs breezy musical ambience. There is an air of gender ambiguity running through the album, having produced so many songs for female pop star Hynes is a master of female projection. As an active supporter of LGBT issues the title for the track
Uncle Ace, comes from from the nickname given to the ACE line of the New York City subway, where many homeless adolescents a large number of whom are homosexual seek shelter. There’s a very 80s, disco, drag feel about the song, musically it sounds like a Nile Rogers riff, channelling elements of Daft Punks
RAM, lyrically it is challenging as Hynes sings “Not like the other girls”, unafraid to blur the gender lines and make intelligent pop music. Despite the guest vocalists,
Cupid Deluxe is Hynes’ baby, he sings, writes, produces, and plays guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, synths, he has no shame or irony in his use of instruments, the glockenspiels on the heavenly, gospel like spoken word
Chosen are what they are, there’s no throw back attitude, each sound and rhythm is deliberate.
You’re Not Good Enough, I Can Only Disappoint You and
Time Will Time are the Holy Trinity of
Cupid Deluxe, their sound and lyrics represent the essence of the album, love, loss, regret and heartbreak but sound tracked to a New York 80s, Prince inspired, smooth groove. There is a danger that will all the 80s infused points of reference and Hynes complete devotion to honesty and his intentions that
Cupid Deluxe could become a parody or at worst cheesy, but there’s something flowing through the album that prevents this, maybe it’s the 80s New York City outlook, or the unashamed love of jazz sax, whatever it is it is infectious and glorious. The only minor glitch is that
Clipped On and
High Street seem a little out of place in the world of
Cupid, caught up in the haze of soul, funk and pop their rap and grime influences just don’t quite sit as smoothly. From its slinky opening track
Cupid Deluke is a sensuous, soulful, arty and wistful. Criminally overlooked in the Best of 2013 lists, it
is an absolute must listen for anyone who appreciates sensual melodies, 80s funk and intelligent pop music.