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iTunes Editors’ Notes

With his drum circles–gone–wild percussion and Spanish-tongued romantic ballads turned flash-mob campfire sing-alongs, Devendra Banhart has been easily lumped into the freak-folk movement. He also plays up the charismatic cult-leader vibe with his serious beard, intense gaze, and lyrics that are either deeply philosophical or weird and funny in a jive kind of way. He proudly waves the freak-folk flag by juxtaposing unlikely musical elements. "Mi Negrita" sounds like an easy-listening record bedeviled by cavemen whose backing vocals have nothing to do with the lyrics (which reflect on Banhart's Venezuelan roots). "Your Fine Petting Duck" combines carefully fingerpicked guitar lines with a children's choir as the tune transforms into a synth-crazy dance track and the singer explains why he's bad news. "The Ballad of Keenan Milton," with a police siren in the distance, is an acoustic guitar instrumental that sounds like it was borrowed from a '70s movie. The entire album, in fact, plays like a mixtape, with a variety of styles meeting a variety of sound fidelities.

Customer Reviews

Mala

Whoa. first review, i'm surprised a flock of banhart fans weren't here already.. Anyways this is a great record. I just finished listening to it and I'm blown away. It's an interesting direction for devendra, very pop driven tunes here. He's drifted far away from his distinctive folk sound he established in his brilliant earlier efforts and am almost happy he did because he's matured so much as a songwriter. My favorite part about this record is the instrumentation, beautiful textures, he's even started to incorporate a lot of electronic elements.. To sum it up tho, if your a fan of his I highly recommend it. I was hesitant to get this at first because I was very disappointed in "What Will We Be" but Mala has definitely redeemed him in my book. And I know i'm going to be playing this on repeat for at least the next few weeks. So
cheers Devendra!

Mixed bag

As with pretty much every album Devendra has released Mala definitely had to grow on me. It feels a little slicker than pretty much anything he's put out to date. Very produced, but not to the records detriment. The quirk and heart and sincerety is still very much present. Mixed bag, as far as the tracks are concerned. Mi Negrita is so damned lovely and heart wrenching. Your Fine Petting Duck reeks of "it's not you, it's me", and the haunting female vocals are probably one of my favorite parts of the album. It does devolve into a dance party at the end of the song which I wasn't crazy about on the first and second listens, but give it a chance and you'll look forward to it after a while. I was ready for a new Devendra album and he didnt disappoint. It's once again his brains contents and his hearts sighs wrapped up and presented in a confusing and welcome package.

Amazing as always!

I've been a fan from the beginning and I must say, Devendra has never disappointed me. This album is truly beautiful and is an excellent reflection of the evolution of his music. Highlights IMO are Mi Negrita, Never Seen Such Good Things and Your Fine Petting Duck, but front to back the album is amazing. Thank you Devendra for giving us the gift of your music.

Biography

Born: May 30, 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