‘Niño Rojo’

SixEyesBlog | by Alan Williamson

Just perfect indeed.

First off I’ve got to say that the songs on ‘Niño Rojo’ were recorded during the very same sessions (in legendary recording engineer Lynn Bridges’ home studio on the Alabama/Georgia border) that produced his previous release, ‘Rejoicing In The Hands’. So, let’s have none of that, ‘Oh, I see, Banhart just puts out the same thing over and over’. Remember this artist is just starting out, still being surprised by what directions his muse takes him – he’s only 23.

Add on top of that the previously mentioned tidbit that Banhart put these (57) tracks onto tape during the same ten-day session and the similarity of the two discs is to be expected. Both recordings are sparse and bear a timeless air, showcasing Banhart’s arresting vocals – be they hushed or closer to teeth on a chalkboard; they grab a hold and push you up against the nearest wall for a welcome frisking. The only difference between the two is the more ornate instrumentation on Niño Rojo, including, trumpet, trombone, piano, cello and harmonica.

Standout tracks include, Little Yellow Spider, At The Hop, Ay Mama, and 'Be Kind', with it's friendly inviting plea, it's catchy melody and simplistic, childlike drumbeat - this is the most accessible (to the general public) track on the disc and a fine introduction to Banhart.

Banhart creates original, individual music - eccentric, mystical, calming, disturbing… just perfect for the hipster willing to display his hipster cred with what is perceived as un-hip music. Just perfect indeed.