Tim Buckley + Daniel Johnston + ??? = Devendra Banhart | by Jake

some of the best music they've heard in quite some time

I've been simmering on this review for some time, trying to wrap my head around what it is exactly I want to say about Devendra Banhart, and his new album, Oh Me Oh My.... This much I know -- it's one of the most original things I've heard in a long time. I don't know if it's just that I'm not listening to the right stuff, but I can't think of anyone who really sounds like this guy. See that equation up there? In many ways, that's nothing but a guess. I can hear hints of Buckley and Johnston in there, as well as few others here and there, but for the most part this sounds like nothing else I have ever heard. You know the only thing that comes to mind when I hear this record -- Edward Gorey. One of my favorite illustrators/artists ever, whose work excites me and creeps me out at the same time. On top of that, I could really see Banhart's work as the musical accompaniment to a viewing of Gorey's cartoons -- I think the two would go fine together.
Part of me wants to give this a higher rating, and still another part wants a lower one. On the one hand, I can appreciate the talent and originality that's gone into this release. I would not be surprised in the least if 20 years from now he's one of those guys that all of the up and comers name drop as one of their main influences. On the other hand, I would say that more often than not I don't really want to listen to this record. There are certainly a number of songs that I like, but there are plenty that I usually end up skipping also. Part of me wants to admit that I'm just not intelligent enough to "get" this music, but I also think that it's just the sort of music that may not be for everyone, but those that do like it will find it to be some of the best music they've heard in quite some time.