Rejoicing in Devendra's Hands

The Cauldron | by David Imburgia

Wonderful and askew visions of love and celebration

In the past six months or so, Devendra Banhart has released two full-length records, made appearances on the records of his contemporaries, toured all over the U.S., and organized the release of a psych-folk collection called Golden Apples of the Sun that he compiled himself. What have YOU done in the past six months?

Devendra Banhart's consistant works have continued the folksinger's plundering of the shores of oddity, a voyage that started with his cockeyed, hissy debut Oh Me Oh My in 2002. Banhart's nonstop passion has been the seed for a huge bulge of psychedelic and introspective folk music in the past year for Banhart and contemporaries such as Joanna Newsom, Vetiver, Six Organs of Admittance, et al. A feeling that carried through a spring of promise and a summer of celebration continues with Nino Rojo, released last month.

The prolific nature of Banhart is an attribute counts towards a huge relevance with his appeal, but also doesn't compromise the soul you can hear in the music. Another set of sixteen songs leads off with a cover of the Ella Jenkins gem "Wake Up, Little Sparrow." The tone for this record is continuous with the set of songs in it's twin brother release, Rejoicing in the Hands back in April. Wonderful and askew visions of love and celebration are once again peppered throughout the album, with plenty of head-turning tools along the way, such as Andy Cabic's (Vetiver) contribution to the gorgeous farewell song "At the Hop", as well as the clapalong melody of "Be Kind", which is helped by a beautiful, almost steel drum-sounding clinky piano accompaniment.

The hooks continue throughout the entire record. And with Young God head Michael Gira once again lending his hand with a wonderful job on production, the flow of Nino Rojo has shattered into a floor of glass shards. Different than the endless glass sheet with a few cracks, each one making an original indentation in Rejoicing for the Hands, each clump of shards has something even more distinct in its form, making Nino Rojo shades of colour a bit more bold. With each release, Banhart seems to shatter the glass even more, becoming more shaped, more distinct, and with no signs of slowing down.