Many artists insist they can't be pigeonholed, but Dev Hynes walks the talk. The British performer and songwriter is a restless musical nomad who wanders between projects (Test Icicles, Lightspeed Champion), genres and cities with elusive regularity.
This year he's Blood Orange, a genteel and relaxed pop performer with myriad effeminate influences - Hynes's childhood memories of being bullied, the drag ball queens of 80s New York, his songwriting sessions with Solange Knowles and Cassie - that are mostly apparent in the delicate tone and feminine persona in which he sings.
Most impressive is the lightness of touch Hynes brings to his arrangements. There's a thoughtfulness and precision in the spare mix of thick, groovy bass lines, lithe fingerpicking and pretty melodies. A gorgeous album, inside and out.
Top track: Sutphin Boulevard