SixEyesBlog | by Alan Williamson
Just perfect indeed.First off Iâ€™ve got to say that the songs on â€˜NiÃ±o Rojoâ€™ were recorded during the very same sessions (in legendary recording engineer Lynn Bridgesâ€™ home studio on the Alabama/Georgia border) that produced his previous release, â€˜Rejoicing In The Handsâ€™. So, letâ€™s have none of that, â€˜Oh, I see, Banhart just puts out the same thing over and overâ€™. Remember this artist is just starting out, still being surprised by what directions his muse takes him â€“ heâ€™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 Banhartâ€™s arresting vocals â€“ 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 NiÃ±o 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, disturbingâ€¦ just perfect for the hipster willing to display his hipster cred with what is perceived as un-hip music. Just perfect indeed.