14 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The freak-folk king releases his major-label debut. Banhart is still as eclectic as ever, jumping from folk to R&B to reggae as he feels fits. The orchestration of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon has been bypassed for a small band sound that primarily expands in the vocal department where it can sound like you’ve found a late-night tribal folk mass (“Angelika”). Banhart’s music without borders means anything can happen. “Baby” sends things off on a Caribbean vacation, as if Banhart has been reborn as Jack Johnson or Jimmy Buffett. “Goin’ Back” lays back with a country twang. “Last Song for B” rests on a pensive whisper. “Chin Chin & Muck Muck” worms its way through cabaret and folk with a distinct lean towards the joy of children’s music. “16th and Valencia Roxy Music” sports a disco move. “Rats” channels the Doors and an extra-glam backbeat. The clean production from Paul Butler (A Band of Bees) is a striking change for a performer who has relied on either lo-fi murk for mystery or elaborate arrangements to bring the party home.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The freak-folk king releases his major-label debut. Banhart is still as eclectic as ever, jumping from folk to R&B to reggae as he feels fits. The orchestration of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon has been bypassed for a small band sound that primarily expands in the vocal department where it can sound like you’ve found a late-night tribal folk mass (“Angelika”). Banhart’s music without borders means anything can happen. “Baby” sends things off on a Caribbean vacation, as if Banhart has been reborn as Jack Johnson or Jimmy Buffett. “Goin’ Back” lays back with a country twang. “Last Song for B” rests on a pensive whisper. “Chin Chin & Muck Muck” worms its way through cabaret and folk with a distinct lean towards the joy of children’s music. “16th and Valencia Roxy Music” sports a disco move. “Rats” channels the Doors and an extra-glam backbeat. The clean production from Paul Butler (A Band of Bees) is a striking change for a performer who has relied on either lo-fi murk for mystery or elaborate arrangements to bring the party home.

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