Village Voice | by Andy Beta
Rejoicing in the Hands
His song-y motes get buffed to a sheen by cello, drums, and marimba, courtesy of Michael Gira's Angels of Light, coating them into pearls (before, Swans). Sometimes it's just clean picking and that old, weird (South) America of his voice. Watery, lemony, brassy, froggy, foggy, wispy, slippery, it's mostly Marc Bolan-y, even when singing baloney lyrics about Elvis's hit discography. Previously invoking "men" like Tiny Tim and Syd Barrett, Devendra's more feminine turns now conjure the grittier Karen Dalton and uh . . . Ethel Merman?
Writhing underneath are uncountable hands, extraneous phalanges, datable teeth, and hair as insect eyes, to say nothing of the throat of English sprite Vashti Bunyan. In the glorious 1:41 title track, hers is a voice from the mists after three decades gone. Perhaps Banhart's recent move west will bring back the similarly vaporous psy-chanteuse Linda Perhacs?