Devendra Banhart | Rejoicing in the Hands | by Kaleb

Sixteen tracks of mesmerizing guitar plucking

" It's like finding home, in an old folk song that you've never ever heard, still you know every word and fo' sure can sing along"

Having seen his face in way too many places, and read a few bittersweet reviews, I was prepared to pass up on Devendra Banhart. That said, since I began to allow his collection of song titled 'Rejoicing in the Hands' to enter the mind, it has owned me. Sixteen tracks of mesmerizing guitar plucking, much in the learned style of the late John Fahey (see: "Tit Smoking In the Temple of Artisan Mimicry", an instrumental that is part dedicated to the man himself) or as of recent M. Ward. As for the vocals - just when you had thought Jack White had mastered the warble of Blind Willie McTell, circa "Broke Down Engine Blues", it looks as if Devendra has a one-up on the peppermint kid ("There Was Sun").

The songs are certainly part that of a madman's doing, but they are full of charm and imagination. Captured by the bizarre imagery this album possesses is like staring into the sun, entranced by it's beauty yet unable to turn away. A keeper like "This Beard Is For Siobhan" plays like a vinyl gem rescued from any decade pre-1940, and is also one of the only "full band" tracks on the album, complete with percussion.

With all the talk of Marc Bolan-this & Nick Drake-that - I don't hear the transition. Not to pass this up due to wrongful association - the Syd Barret references still hold true (see: "Insect Eyes"). If after all the hype and press you still aren't listening - Rejoicing awaits.