The Last Drop

Reviews and Clues on Music That Matters (to me)

Archive for the ‘Devendra Banhart’ tag

New Issue: Devendra Banhart

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Devendra Banhart, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon – I freely admit that I had passed on earlier records from Devendra because of his looks. Yes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Yes looks can be deceiving. Yes, “I have a dream that every race, creed, color”, yada yada. But if your next door neighbor looked like Charles Mason in a bikini, would you really invite him over for tea? I hope not. Thus, based his exterior and oft gender bending antics in the press, I totally assumed a different sound from Mr. Banhart – possibly, psychedelic, experimental, long format, arduous hippie goth songs about surreal images and ancient eastern concepts of the afterlife. Yeah, I was that thrown by the image. I’ve learned my lesson on this one.

Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon has none of the aforementioned drawbacks. Well, longer than normal songs are a part of it and he is folksy, but in a good way. And it all works. His quirky and TSA alarming looks are but a mere casing for a very touching and almost delicate musician. I kept on repeating “sweet” as the best adjective to describe his songs. Not the Wayne’s World, late ’90s version – rather the gentle, warm and inviting use that typifies his songs. Even with his vast array of genres presented on the album (Tropicalia, folk, fuzzy funk, shoo-bop, gospel/ soul), he is solidly set in the ’60s. Usually a trouble area for my musical tastes, his creativity finds space to breathe without suffering from long windedness. His lyrics may be as elusive as Beck’s, but he crafts catchy melodies that smooth over any doubt. And it really is sweet. Like a good hug. Or a long lost friend remembering your birthday. Even with longer than radio friendly song lengths (average is well over 5 minutes, and the album is over 60 minutes, you don’t feel like repetition is setting in. I was actually taken on a journey with this album which is rare these days. I’m pleased that his looks do not match my original typecasting and am eager to hear more. A live performance, that may be pushing it 🙂

Written by TopDrop

October 14th, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Posted in New Issue

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