Album: Devendra Banhart
Rejoicing in the Hands, Young God / XL
Friday 21 May 2004
Like his friend Joanna Newsom (see above), Devendra Banhart is an oddity from the furthest fringes of Americana, a neo-hippie whose hooded, withdrawn appearance, cross-legged on a rug surrounded by candles, made him an incongruous presence amid the jousting egos of last week's Later... with Jools Holland. There are echoes of obscure 1960s folkniks in his rustic, whiskery delivery and finger-style guitar picking, and in a different age he'd have turned up on John Fahey's Takoma label, home of genre-bending acoustic guitarists, instead of being unearthed by Swans' Michael Gira. Country-blues roots are dimly discernible at the heart of Banhart's playing, but they've grown in odd directions; these quirky little songs are illuminated from within by an almost feral sense of naïve wonder. Lyrically, he's most engaged by the natural world, and especially by the human body - minutely examining his lover's physical characteristics in "Insect Eyes". Occasionally, flora and fauna dissolve into one: "Your branches crawl around my clocks/ And my leaves brush up against your palms," he sings in "When the Sun Shone on Vetiver". The main stumbling block is his warbling delivery, which requires a certain commitment on the part of the listener to weave its magic: once the spell is broken, it just sounds affected.
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Breaking Bad season 6 is still not happening
Doctor Who, Flatline - review: Clara isn’t half bad as the Time Lord
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage