Oh Me Oh My... | Devendra Banhart | Review | Ben Hernstrom

awkward, otherworldly...

Michael Gira, center piece of the now-defunct, experimental legends - Swans, and owner/operator of Young God Records, described his newest acquisition -Devendra Banhart - as “ridiculously compelling”, and “completely unique”. And after spending a good bit of time listening to the release, its clear he wasn't mistaken. Absurdly titled “Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Songs Of The Christmas Spirit”, the disc is a combination of awkward, otherworldly lyrics sung in a shaky falsetto, and finger-picked acoustic guitar. While the music is certainly good on many levels, the thing that makes it worth looking into is its intensely unnerving quality. This under-your-skin element stems from lyrics like “Do you love him? Does he love you, too - like I love you? I know nature is beside me when he’s inside you. I feel it, too.” Lyrics like these and the eloquent melodies that support them form a kind of fear-inducing innocence. There's a very clear and readable honesty to the material- a truly rare occurrence in today's industry of overproduction and suit created musics. Even the recording process used to produce the album seems tailored to creating a strange and alien sensation. The disc is comprised of 22 tracks recorded on assorted lo-fi recording devices. This system of imperfection only furthers the music’s ability to make the listener feel bizarre and inexplicable things. Fans of Angels of Light, Modest Mouse or anything in between should certainly give Banhart a listen, not because he sounds like those projects, but because he offers a similar sensation. Even if we’ll never know what that sensation really is, or why we want to feel it.