Devendra Banhart, Nino Rojo

Mojo | by Andrew Perry

The magical folkie’s second brilliant album of 2004
4 stars out of 5

That’s right, not the same record that came out in April, but a completely fresh set of 16 songs, spirited up at the same 10-day sessions as the wonderful Rejoicing in the Hands of the Golden Empress. To recap: Banhart’s a 22-year-old-weird-beard from San Francisco, originally discovered by (of all people) Michael Gira from Swans, who released one album of his home recordings before whisking him down to Georgia for the Rejoicing/Nino studio binge, chez erstwhile Muscle Shoals dude Lynn Bridges. Incredibly (or, to drooly converts, perhaps not), Nino Rojo is no mere best-of-the-rest affair, but a sibling piece of equal intimacy and inspiration. His voice quavering like pre-glam Bolan, Banhart casts bare yet mesmerising acoustic spells, a fullish band materialising only on the loping Be Kind and Electric Heart – all the better to lap up the lad’s outré thoughts on spiders, saying goodbye, etc.