Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Brad Kopplin
Dev Hynes must not sleep. Actually, there is evidence to the contrary on his personal blog, an example of his exhausting mind, on which he frequently posts crude drawings inspired by various dreams that he had been disposed to the evening prior. A recent scrawling features Hynes - looking like a character from a TV Funhouse cartoon involving hotdog-eating champion Kobayashi stopping floods with his talent for speedy gluttony or Harry Potter wearing the UK sensation's trademark trapper's cap - standing naked at a microphone, with pecker exposed, singing, "I feel better."
As far as it goes - as far as the complexities of daily motion and non-motion go - he's swimming in it all, taking laps in the moat, round and round, doing everything he can to crack the codes, even if there are no codes, no riddles. He's got his eyes so open and open so much that they should be drought dry. His ears should be dulled by the commotion that rages around him. He should have a rash from the continuous rush of verbiage and shrapnel slashing by his skin, like wind gusts working on getting somewhere else and breaking down everything in its path. Nothing appears to be diluted for Hynes, just sharp and blaring flashes, a boisterous blend of overwhelming neediness, necessity and confusing twists and turns. Hynes gets bowled over by everything Weezer and is a "Lost" junkie, but those are just the most frequently owned up to vices and infatuations.
The list could be endless as it appears that when he isn't consuming instances and stuff - brain candy and brain vegetables - he's regurgitating them into his own refined output, recording songs and albums as if they were going out of style in a hurry. He opens up every thought, pries the tin off of every second of every day as if something worthwhile might come of it. When whatever happens to go down, it often jackknifes into something completely different or at least allows for Hynes to take into account his place in it, how he fits in. He's got a knack for self-examination and kneeding what consumes him until all of the red is run out of it. It's all very hyper-autobiographical in a less sappy and soggy way than the way that Dashboard Confessional operates, making his songs into more universal outpourings, asking the more difficult why are we heres and what's it all worths of dilemmas than just grousing about a girl not wanting to make out. Though there is the standard requisite girl trouble, it never takes the cake, just exists sparingly as a template for getting all of the rest figured out first. He recorded his full-length, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, in Omaha, where the water's been known to foster other men/boys to pick up acoustic guitars and write music like they were writing novellas. There's sadness and despair, but there's also that natural vibe about his dripping, saccharine words that makes them lean toward it being a phase he's going through. You work through things and you get older. Hynes will play more shows dressed in Superman pajamas, he'll continue blogging about all of the various dents in his life - sicknesses, fears, cancelled shows - and he'll wear that bulky, raccoon-looking hat into furry threads. It will run its course, but the spilling of anguish right into his songs - putting himself in the middle of cornfields to record them, recognizing that he's "got the sweet sugar, but that's it" - will make for nice retrospection when he moves on to a fanatical appreciation of The Band or The Grateful Dead. For now, he'll be himself, alike a less bitter Elijah Price, Mr. Glass.