Devendra Banhart, Oh Me Oh My

Phildelphia City Paper | by Sam Adams

Recalls the posthumous bootlegs of Nick Drake

More than a quarter of the song titles on Devendra Banhart’s debut album trail off in an ellipsis, which might just be a way of making room for the album’s Fiona Apple-esque title: Oh Me Oh My … The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Love Songs of the Christmas Spirit (Young God). But it’s also a good indicator of the Austin-based singer’s penchant for sticking with a song only until his interest runs out: Oh Me Oh My … crams 22 songs into 50 minutes, the shortest being the 39-second “Tick Eats the Olives.” As that title indicates, Banhart favors the surreal, and his eerily double-tracked warble only increases the sense of unease. Even a relatively straightforward number like “Michigan State,” which proclaims Banhart’s affection for the titular territory, gets sidetracked into observations like, “My toes have my favorite feet.” In instrumentation and in fidelity, Oh Me Oh My … recalls the posthumous bootlegs of Nick Drake jamming alone in his parents’ house, but the feel is less pastoral than extraterrestrial.