Devendra Banhart | Rejoicing in the Hands
FAC 193 | by Jack Alberson
Impulsively executed and soulfulThe premise of a man and his guitar weaving tales of his travels is an ancient themeâ€”minstrels spread their oral literature far and wide, these stories eventually became what are now known as â€˜the classicsâ€™. Many have tried this approach and many have languished in mediocrity or, worse yet, obscurity. With his second disc, Rejoicing in the Hands, Devendra Banhart stands to transcend simple tale-telling to become the stuff of legend himself.
The album starts easily enough with â€œThis is the Wayâ€, sort of a sketch of the man himself with lyrics like â€œthis is the beard/Iâ€™m always growingâ€, the tones of his guitar played as spritely as any bluegrass number. Devendraâ€™s amorphous voice wraps itself around every word and note, sometimes tapping into very classic vocal inflections (â€œThis Beard is for SiobhÃ¡nâ€ is a fabulous example). Perhaps the greatest moments of this album reveal themselves in the last half with the back-to-back â€œFallâ€ and â€œTodo Los Doloresâ€ as well as the beguiling â€œInsect Eyesâ€. The thing that separates him from the many others who try to walk this road of musical expression is his fluid versatilityâ€”often times the very topography of a song will change, thus taking the listener on a true voyage.
Impulsively executed and soulful, Rejoicing in the Hands has a very instant appeal that will keep you returning often to peel back yet another sublime layer.