Album review: Devendra Banhart, Mala (Nonesuch)


Devendra Banhart's last few albums left little impression, and despite moving to Warners' artists colony Nonesuch, his latest seems unlikely to arrest that trajectory.

It's not bad, just unnecessary. It shifts desultorily from style to style, with songs barely hanging around long enough to state their case.

Sometimes, that's a relief: the tribute to Hildegard von Bingen is facile. “Golden Girls” has a nice blend of strings and metallic percussion, but elsewhere things stumble from indie-folk to rudimentary electropop and oddball 1950s pop with a lack of volition.

Download: Golden Girls; Mi Negrita