Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange is set to release Freetown Sound, his third proper full-length album, and the most expansive statement of his career. Written and produced by Hynes, Freetown Sound is a tour de force, a pastiche of Hynes' past, present, and future that melds his influences with his own established musical voice.
For well over a decade, Hynes has proven himself a virtuoso of versatility, experimenting with almost every conceivable musical genre under a variety of monikers. After moving to New York City in the mid-2000s, Hynes became Blood Orange, plumming the oeuvres of the city's musical legends to create a singular style of urgent, delicate pop music. Freetown Sound, which follows 2011's Coastal Grooves and 2013's breakthrough Cupid Deluxe, builds upon everything Hynes has done as an artist, resulting in the most expansive artistic statement of his career.
Drawing from a deep well of techniques and references, the album unspools like a piece of theater, evoking unexpected communions of moods, voices, and eras. Freetown Sound derives its name from the birthplace of Hynes' father, the capital of Sierra Leone. Thematically, it is profoundly personal and unapologetically political, touching on issues of race, religion, sex, and sexism over 17 shimmering songs. Each song echoes into another, with leitmotifs carefully stitched throughout, yielding a sound palette that gently recalls elastic funk, slinky R&B, and pure pop, but resisting easy categorization.
For Hynes, the process of self-discovery involved in creating Freetown Sound proved as valuable as the finished product. "This record really tries to say things that I've been wanting to express for many years," he says. "It looks into my childhood and examines who I am at this point in my life. There are so many crazy layers to it that it's actually quite hard to talk about it, but the record is very reflective of how my brain works. It's been very interesting for me trying to understand and tie all of these things together. It's been a way of working through it."