14 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With his drum circles–gone–wild percussion and Spanish-tongued romantic ballads turned flash-mob campfire sing-alongs, Devendra Banhart has been easily lumped into the freak-folk movement. He also plays up the charismatic cult-leader vibe with his serious beard, intense gaze, and lyrics that are either deeply philosophical or weird and funny in a jive kind of way. He proudly waves the freak-folk flag by juxtaposing unlikely musical elements. "Mi Negrita" sounds like an easy-listening record bedeviled by cavemen whose backing vocals have nothing to do with the lyrics (which reflect on Banhart's Venezuelan roots). "Your Fine Petting Duck" combines carefully fingerpicked guitar lines with a children's choir as the tune transforms into a synth-crazy dance track and the singer explains why he's bad news. "The Ballad of Keenan Milton," with a police siren in the distance, is an acoustic guitar instrumental that sounds like it was borrowed from a '70s movie. The entire album, in fact, plays like a mixtape, with a variety of styles meeting a variety of sound fidelities.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With his drum circles–gone–wild percussion and Spanish-tongued romantic ballads turned flash-mob campfire sing-alongs, Devendra Banhart has been easily lumped into the freak-folk movement. He also plays up the charismatic cult-leader vibe with his serious beard, intense gaze, and lyrics that are either deeply philosophical or weird and funny in a jive kind of way. He proudly waves the freak-folk flag by juxtaposing unlikely musical elements. "Mi Negrita" sounds like an easy-listening record bedeviled by cavemen whose backing vocals have nothing to do with the lyrics (which reflect on Banhart's Venezuelan roots). "Your Fine Petting Duck" combines carefully fingerpicked guitar lines with a children's choir as the tune transforms into a synth-crazy dance track and the singer explains why he's bad news. "The Ballad of Keenan Milton," with a police siren in the distance, is an acoustic guitar instrumental that sounds like it was borrowed from a '70s movie. The entire album, in fact, plays like a mixtape, with a variety of styles meeting a variety of sound fidelities.

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