Rejoicing in the Hands

The Cauldron (Cleveland) | by David Imburgia

If his music were break-dancing, he’d sweep the competition effortlessly off their feet

Believe it or not, break-dancing and folk music have a lot in common. The basics of both are pretty much common knowledge (at least within their respective cliques), and you may even be able to impress friends and family with what you know of either strumming on some chords or doing a little soft-shoe. But the first and foremost cold hard fact of what it takes to genuinely succeed in both areas is criminally overlooked much too often: You must have your own distinctive style, or you won’t stand out.
Applying that idea, Devendra Banhart may be the next important folksinger/songwriter of this millennium. And if his music were break-dancing, he’d sweep the competition effortlessly off their feet. Frantic strumming patters sliced up by horrendous vocal gasps followed by trembling whispers about warm, vivid imagery are peppered all throughout this young man’s new record Rejoicing in the Hands. His simultaneously nervous and joyous choppy toned vocals will burn themselves as a memory in your head, and his awkward yelps will most likely set him apart from any other folk musician you’ll hear.
Young God Records’ primary spokesman and Angels of Light frontman Michael Gira has helped this young talent eclipse his solid 2002 debut Oh Me Oh My with pristine, dynamic production. The strings are dramatic, the lyrics are frightening, and the spirit is impenetrable. With another full-length due out later this year, tentatively titled Nino Rojo, Banhart is opening up himself to the world after years of aimless wandering, and we’re all on the edge of our seats to see what’s next.
Grade - A