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Devendra Banhart | Oh Me Oh My | Review

Magnet Magazine | Patrick Berkery

If you could write songs this freakily enticing, you¹d be laughing, too.

Devendra Banhart has a warbly-yet-warm voice that sounds like a thick slab of dusty old vinyl spinning on a poorly calibrated turntable. His songs are filled with more than enough non-sequiturs and cartoon nihilism (³I¹m burying your head in a bed of swords²) to color him a loose screw beyond compare. He uses the incidental tape hiss of a four-track recorder as a backdrop for his voice and finger-plucked acoustic guitar. The 21-year-old singer/ songwriter writes such beautifully crackpot songs that there will no doubt be a cult of like-minded souls hanging on his every line about ³white-ass suits² and ³lion tattoos² one day. For musical precedents, think the folkie Marc Bolan, Daniel Johnston and Syd Barrett at his most dour. For spiritual precedent, think Crispin Glover¹s infamous Letterman appearance. Oh Me Oh My... proves Banhart is a prolific troubadour (22 songs ranging in length from 39 seconds to 4:30) seriously fucking shit up with his fragile fairy tales, accidental spirituals, warped glam blues and even the odd love song. ³Roots (If The Sky Were A Stone)² is Banhart¹s very spooky explanation of nature¹s way, while on ³Michigan State² (probably the most Bolan-esque of the bunch), he busts a chuckle at his own stream of consciousness. If you could write songs this freakily enticing, you¹d be laughing, too.
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