Devonte Hynes – ‘Palo Alto OST’

A dreamy film score reveals yet another side to the Blood Orange wiz

Devonté Hynes began his musical career in 2004 as a member of Test Icicles – a band who played 100mph dance-punk and revelled in the chaos they created. Then, in 2008, came the first of two albums as Lightspeed Champion, a self-deprecating and melancholy solo project for Hynes that was essentially ‘Dear diary, I hate myself’ in aural form. These days he operates as Blood Orange – the New York-via-London hipster who’s worked with Solange and Sky Ferreira and excels at making sultry, seductive R&B designed to make your clothes fall off.

Hynes has always enjoyed diverse projects. From a Green Day covers EP to a collaboration with cult composer Van Dyke Parks to comics produced with Faris Badwan and classical performances at London’s Barbican, the 28-year-old’s creative spectrum seems boundless. It comes as no surprise then, that Dev has now turned his hand to a film score. The soundtrack to Palo Alto, directed by Gia Coppola (granddaughter of legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola) and based on a collection of stories written by Spring Breakers actor (and occasional musician) James Franco, it continues along Dev’s established route of credible partnerships.

‘Palo Alto’ shows yet another side to the ever-restless musician. The title track is lysergic and keyboard-led, sounding like an underwater daydream. It’s like an utterly gorgeous lost cut from Connan Mockasin’s ‘Caramel’ but with some Blood Orange guitar grooves thrown in for good measure. ‘April’s Daydream’ is like Prince covering Perfume Genius, all sexy vocal purrs and slow, sad organs; ‘April’s Bathroom Bummer’ is its minor key flipside.

Elsewhere, instrumental clips establish the mood – reedy, woodwind calm on ‘Teddy Rides Home’; chipper,Drive– style synths on ‘Big Game’; plaintive pianos on ‘Run To Graveyard’.

‘Palo Alto’ adds yet another string to Hynes’ bow. Despite its sketch-like form, his first foray into film scores shows that his mind is as inquisitive and creative as ever.

Lisa Wright