I was a little late to the party with this record (like a few months late), but better late than never, as they say. On Freetown Sound, whose album cover and title are deceptively evocative of the 1970s Afro-beat aesthetic, Dev Hynes (the creative force behind Blood Orange) mines the tonalities and timbres of synthesized dance music, and 80s R&B, to create atmospheric, ultra-melodic, socially conscious, and often futuristic dream pop reminiscent at times of Fine Young Cannibals, and at others, an airy Angelo Badalamenti score. Dev Hynes’ talent for wringing fresh melodic ideas from well-trodden harmonic territory, and production that is layered and three dimensional, without being overbearing, make Freetown a joy to listen to despite the music’s underlying sadness. Continuing a tradition in Black recorded music, spoken word samples, interview excerpts, poetry and ghostly found sounds are utilized to great narrative, emotional, and artistic effect. A must-listen.