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Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off The Lavendar Bridge (Album Review)

It’s the same old story: boy meets boys. Boys form band. Band take unfunny punning band naming to astonishing levels. Band burst onto ‘scene’. Scene adopts band despite the fact that band aren’t actually very good. Band realise this fact. Band disband. One particular boy in band gets over band by coming back as acoustic singer/songwriter.

How many times have we heard that before? James Blunt, David Gray, James Morrison, all served their time in the old art-punk-dance-noise rock scene before finding their true calling as sensitive types with heartfelt lyrics and a demeanour you could take home to granny. Dev, you ain’t impressing anyone.
Ok, maybe you are. Because whichever way you slice it, this rebirth is novel. But hey, so was Not a Penny More and look how badly that turned out.

Fortunately for all, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge is better than both Jeffery Archer and Test-Icicles. Faint praise? Well no. It’s a sweet, brave, unexpectedly good record. Personal to the point of voyeurism, subtle in a fashion you can’t quite believe.

Plus, as reincarnations go, it’s somewhat cool. Sort of a reverse Dylan. From electric to unplugged. From play ‘really fucking loud’, to ‘play so quiet you don’t wake a dormouse’. You can almost hear the faint shouts of “Judas” from The Old Blue Last.

Does that make Dev Hynes the Shoreditch Dylan? Maybe. Even if Robert Zimmerman never told us to “wake up and smell the semen”. He’s even got Emmy The Great to shoulder the Joan Baez role.

But it probably doesn’t. Hynes isn’t a protest singer, he’s too scared, too confused, too baffled for that. Because some of the most interesting moments on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge are some of the most bi-polar.

Like Midnight Surprise. Ten or so minutes, from the duvet cowering “Oh, fuck, I think she just saw me” too the aforementioned ‘rise and get a load of this bodily fluid’. It sounds like it should be horrific, but the way it unfolds and twists, through lilting pedal steels and specks of keys, make it rather wonderful. One of a number of vignettes that make it inevitable you want to continue digging through the turmoil of Hynes life.

Galaxy Of The Lost is all Elton John pianos and irradiated lemon bitterness. All To Shit is a wistful, and foul mouthed, lullaby, and the uber wry Devil Tricks For A Bitch could raise a smirking grimace at a Smiths convention.

So maybe we weren’t expecting it, but Falling Off… is an unqualified success. Smart and funny. Bold and layered. Witty and affecting. Roll on the next reinvention. Provided it’s not a Test-Icicles reunion.
– Tim Lee