Favorite

Devendra Banhart: Mala (Nonesuch) 

No less weird than ever, Devendra Banhart is nonetheless an entirely different type of weird on his latest album, with a haircut, a New York City address and an art-school cosmopolitan sound that's miles away from his early folk music.

Sometimes poppy, sometimes sounding like the mellower end of Yo La Tengo, Banhart has moved past the spare folk—sometimes breezy and carefree, sometimes drawn in spooky tones—of Niño Rojo and Rejoicing in the Hands, his breakthrough 2004 albums, and the experimental hippie orchestra of Cripple Crow and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

Backed by a groovily twisting guitar riff and some electronic peripheral flourishes on "Never Seen Such Good Things," Banhart makes the point that once past, our life's greatest experiences are gone. It's a complex notion, the bittersweet aftermath of carpe diem.

The rest of the album has its hits and misses. On the plus side, there's the Spanish-sung "Mi Negrita," with its smooth South American sway; the intimate instrumental "The Ballad of Keenan Milton"; the Luna-like guitar of "Für Hildegard von Bingen." The misses: "Your Fine Petting Duck," which toys with the neo-disco realm; the plodding, lovesick "Won't You Come Home"; the unnecessary, ornamental title song; and the repetitious grind of closer "Taurobolium."

It's a long way from Banhart's early years to Mala, and while it's a bit strange to hear such different music, it's definitely a fascinating journey.

More by Eric Swedlund

  • Courtney Comes Home: The Shondes

    The Shondes return to Tucson with new line-up and Old Pueblo favorite Courtney Robbins
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Hue Are You?

    Baroness’ latest album was born of an accident that nearly killed the band
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Furious Island: AJJ

    New name, same subversive sound from Andrew Jackson Jihad now AJJ
    • Aug 18, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

The Weekly List: 21 Things To Do In Tucson In The Next Seven Days

Food Truck Frenzy at Tucson Hop Shop

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation