Devendra Banhart | Nino Rojo
Blender | by J.D. Considine
Catchy, disarming folk pop from formerly homeless innocentImagine a cross between Jonathan Richman and Elmo with most of the annoying bits removed, and thatâ€™s Banhart. Sure, the 23-year-old singer-guitarist likes to sing about dancing spiders and little lost birdies with a quivering, Tiny Tim vibrato. It helps that his idiosyncratic finger-picking and the occasional splash of bass and horns keep things from falling into solo-acoustic monotony. But itâ€™s Banhartâ€™s gift for melody that ultimately carries the day, littering the album with slyly entrancing tunes that recall the pleasure of old campfire songs. Itâ€™s enough to cure even a hardened cynic.