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DEVENDRA BANHART | Nino Rojo

OTHER MUSIC NEWSLETTER | by RH

Nino Rojo is every bit as breathtaking as its predecessor

Contrary to mistaken claims by some music journalists, Nino Rojo is by no means a collection of outtakes. The sessions which produced these tracks as well as those on the sublime Rejoicing In The Hands resulted in far more than the two discs' cumulative 32 songs, and the decision was made to stagger the release of the strongest material into two full-length installments. Simply stated, Nino Rojo is every bit as breathtaking as its predecessor. Devendra's gently eccentric voice and subdued fingerstyle acoustic guitar remain in focus on this second batch of lovely recordings, and a smattering of tasteful overdubs help to fill things out here and there. The biggest surprise on this one is "Be Kind," which captures Devendra leading a full-band folk-rock jam-out not unlike the one that closed his amazing New York City show with Joanna Newsom, Antony, and Vetiver at the beginning of the summer. It is abundantly clear that young Mr. Banhart understands the importance of simplicity, melody, and poetry far better than most musicians twice his age. Nino Rojo is a treasure, yet another highlight in his rapidly blossoming career. It's not often that two of the best albums in a given year are by the same artist. Does anyone need more evidence that Devendra is this generation's greatest singer-songwriter?
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