Lightspeed Champion, "Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You"

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Devonté Hynes, who performs under the name Lightspeed Champion, first detached himself from dance-punk outfit Test Icicles with the modest folk-pop on his 2008 debut, "Falling Off the Lavender Bridge." For Lightspeed Champion's second album, "Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You," Hynes continues to explore the scope of his musicianship, producing a collection songs that refuse to stand still. The single "Marlene" is a combination of stomping rock and weeping strings, jerking between lyrical demands ("Stick a spoon in your heart/Eat away all your deutsch marks") and laments ("I'm ready to give up on you now/I'm waiting till the sun has gone down"). When Hynes moves from baroque piano melodies ("The Big Guns of Highsmith") to tribal percussion ("Intermission 2"), the transitions aren't always seamless, but the bustle is enthralling. Other restless standouts include theatrical-sounding cuts like "Middle of the Dark" and "Faculty of Fears."--Lindsey Fortier