While loud dance-punk fusions were the choice of sound with his former band Test Icicles, Devonte Hynes’ latest musical venture Lightspeed Champion dials the volume down with beautifully constructed pop tunes tenderly stroked with country and folk influences. Yeah, he looks a bit like a homeless, cracked-out will.i.am, but that barely registers much after listening to gems like “Galaxy of The Lost” or the holiday-themed downer “Another Song About Being Alone”. “Tell Me What It’s Worth” is the third pre-single from his upcoming full length, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, which is shaping up to be a surefire indie treasure when it drops in January.
A girl-group sway, sunny guitar layers and wispy female background vocals provide a cheery backbone to the otherwise gloomy ballad which finds Hynes internalizing the hurtful criticism of others (“Am I crazy baby??/ Let’s all hope”). Though his lyrics carry a certain punk spew in images of bloody beatdowns and angry onlookers and a rush of rich Americana musicality and spiraling harmonies send the track into a state of pretty chaos towards the end, there’s a lonesome sincerity at it’s core that is never shaken, pinning down the naive confusion of being one others don’t easily understand. “Tell me what it’s worth,” he moans to the Gods above. All he wanted to do was bust his own rhymes on the corner with his guitar and it all ends with him in the center of this public brawl.
Being such an “eccentric” might leave him bruised and bloodied at the conclusion of “Tell Me What It’s Worth”, but in the grand scheme of things, his uniqueness will surely score with audiences craving something so different, yet well-sculpted.