DEVENDRA BANHART, Rejoicing in the Hands
www.slugmag.com | by Jon Bean
Raw emotionOne vital thing to consider about Devendra Banhart is the life he lived and who he was discovered by. This offers insight into what his voice and music a cut above the typical drool that poisons today's airwaves. If you pride yourself on knowing anything about music, you will appreciate the importance and beauty of the Swans and its brainchild, Michael Gira, who produces fresh new talent with his label Young God Records. Gira, in a quest for new talent, stumbled upon a disheveled, homeless Banhart, who evoked the same raw emotion that hadn't been heard since the days of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Robert Johnson, or Marc Bolan and T Rex. The music is as simple as it gets, only a few acoustic guitar tracks at most, to complement Banhartâ€™s honest, but not too overly sentimental voice. The only true criticism I could offer is that Banhart sounds a bit too much like Robert Johnsonâ€”as if he were doing it on purposeâ€”and he is not exploring anything too innovative musically, but the ethos of the album is still strong. Banhart's story is of the artist's struggle to overcome poverty. His life is proof that if you are talented and dedicated, it is within your reach to achieve success. An artist must suffer for their work, and the truth of beauty that is a result of this suffering comes through in Banhart's remarkable voice.