| Nino Rojo
His eerily charming hippie warble
Devendra Banhart could be a cult leader. He could also be a graduate thesis, an unsettling dream and/or a way of life. Banhart is beyond weird; heÂ’s one of the very few people in the world who seem to have an utterly original world view. His eerily charming hippie warble would be striking no matter what he sang, but when itÂ’s describing the spooky ritual of Â“hosing down the deadÂ” or cheerfully addressing a Â“little sexy pigÂ” who recently Â“made it with a manÂ”, it sounds like a voice from another world expressing fascination with our odd little Earthling lives. ItÂ’s all cryptic as hell, but somehow lines like Â“My smells grew some new smells and I just couldnÂ’t smell them all/ I smell my sister in the winter and my father in the fallÂ” donÂ’t feel intentionally obscure in the Dylanesque sense. Devendra knows exactly what it means, and thatÂ’s good enough. When BanhartÂ’s astonishing Rejoicing In The Hands came out in May, I expressed extreme doubt that there would be a better album released this year. IÂ’m pleased to say that I was wrong on that count. Nino Rojo is that album.