DEVENDRA BANHART â€“ Nino Rojo
Jersey Beat | by James McQuiston
Devendraâ€™s music is arranged with the most careful of handsâ€œAy Mamaâ€ has a double-harmonized set of vocals work magic alongside sweetly-wrought instruments. However, there are moments on Nino Rojo where Devendra creates a style of music that still feels a little hollow, music that could use more percussion, specifically â€œWe All Knowâ€. The oscillations in Banhartâ€™s voice would be perfectly coupled with some simple foot-stomping added to the choice, and the album version relaying purely on a distorted cymbal and brass only portend a minor amount of the amazing possibilities of the track. Some tracks are specifically crafted for a childâ€™s audience, including â€œLittle Yellow Spiderâ€, which could be recreated by a class of kindergartners for a more impressive sound. It comes time and time again that Banhartâ€™s voice just does not have the power or energy to pull this album, and eirâ€™s continued insistence on being the primary vocalist on the disc holds this album back. It is only when Devendra picks up a second vocalist to supplement eirâ€™s own voice in a track like â€œAt The Hopâ€ where the disc finally has a full feeling that it seriously lacks. Devendraâ€™s music is arranged with the most careful of hands, and the guitar lines that ey lays down are absolutely beautiful, but the â€œselfish friend that I amâ€ might be better off giving the microphone to other vocalists more often.