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What Will We Be

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Album Review

Setting aside the grand orchestrations of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, Devendra Banhart's What Will We Be is everything its predecessor was not: straight-forward, cleanly produced, consistently laid-back (to nearly Jack Johnson proportions), and free of ambition. Banhart enlists the same band as last time (Noah Georgeson, Greg Rogove, Luckey Remington, and Rodrigo Amarante), but hired production whiz Paul Butler, whose records with A Band of Bees are some of the most striking productions of the 2000s. The double-tracked vocals give the album the same air as Banhart's early four-track experiments, but there's no haunted quality, just an occasional hippie-dippie aside in his delivery. Recorded in Northern California, What Will We Be often has the same slacker sensibilities and scent of ocean breeze that Jack Johnson has made his name with (read: funky white-bread basslines and closely miked drums played with plenty of whisk). Banhart's persona emerges intact despite the mainstream sound, however, and What Will We Be becomes a pleasantly fresh album to follow the ponderous, sprawling Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

Customer Reviews

never ban the hart!

refreshing and unique as ever, unpretentious and juvenially explorative. not his most memorable album, or the album i would show to a devendra newby. seems to attempt a new sound early on but then revert to more similiar sound. highlights are deffinitly the jazzy experiments at beginning of chin chin and maria lionza, would love to hear more of that avenue in future still a spark in the dark!!

Give me temptation!!

The last album was a huge disapointment,this is only mildly better but not a patch on the likes of "cripple crow" or "nino rojo".Mr Banhart seems to be just cruising maybe album no.8 will see a return to former glories.Not the worst but caution advised.


This is a truly magnificent album. My only minor critisisms are that the beautiful "Baby" is a little too short, and the album's penultimate 3 or 4 songs are a little on the weak side IMHO, but the first 4 tracks - and the last - are Devendra at his absolute best. So strong, I still rate the album 5/5. Goin' Back' is a msterpiece in it's pulsating simplicity. You'll be listening to this album over, and over, and over again...


Born: 30 May 1981 in Houston, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Growing up in Caracas, Venezuela and Los Angeles, Devendra Banhart was always playing music and drawing. But it wasn't until his brief stay at the San Francisco Art Institute that the disciplines became his constant companions. With the encouragement of poet and SFAI professor Bill Berskon, Banhart began experimenting with all kinds of art. He also began recording songs around that same time, usually on shoddy, hand-me-down four-track machines. Brief, half-finished, or written in stream-of-consciousness...
Full bio
What Will We Be, Devendra Banhart
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