Devendra Banhart | Oh Me Oh My | Review
If you could write songs this freakily enticing, youÂ¹d be laughing, too.
Devendra Banhart has a warbly-yet-warm voice that sounds like a thick slab of dusty old vinyl spinning on a poorly calibrated turntable. His songs are filled with more than enough non-sequiturs and cartoon nihilism (Â³IÂ¹m burying your head in a bed of swordsÂ²) to color him a loose screw beyond compare. He uses the incidental tape hiss of a four-track recorder as a backdrop for his voice and finger-plucked acoustic guitar. The 21-year-old singer/ songwriter writes such beautifully crackpot songs that there will no doubt be a cult of like-minded souls hanging on his every line about Â³white-ass suitsÂ² and Â³lion tattoosÂ² one day. For musical precedents, think the folkie Marc Bolan, Daniel Johnston and Syd Barrett at his most dour. For spiritual precedent, think Crispin GloverÂ¹s infamous Letterman appearance. Oh Me Oh My... proves Banhart is a prolific troubadour (22 songs ranging in length from 39 seconds to 4:30) seriously fucking shit up with his fragile fairy tales, accidental spirituals, warped glam blues and even the odd love song. Â³Roots (If The Sky Were A Stone)Â² is BanhartÂ¹s very spooky explanation of natureÂ¹s way, while on Â³Michigan StateÂ² (probably the most Bolan-esque of the bunch), he busts a chuckle at his own stream of consciousness. If you could write songs this freakily enticing, youÂ¹d be laughing, too.