Monday, September 12, 2005

Long haired child

Play it: Devendra Banhart Cripple Crow

So instead of unleashing multiple albums on us this year, like in the past, Devendra Banhart's released one big 22-song, 74 minute album, Cripple Crow, probably a result of moving to the more traditional Beggars Banquet (XL Recordings) label (one album a year, if you please.) As Banhart's first album outside Michael Gira's Young God Records, Cripple Crow represents an artist branching out... no longer just Banhart, he collaborates with other musicians and thus we get an album that doesn't feel as folky, raw and intimate, but instead feels more eclectic, polished and, well... gregarious. As if he wants to invite more people to the party, Banhart has crafted songs that feel influenced by more widely listened-to artists like Lovin' Spoonful, Neil Young, Canned Heat, and just the aura of the 60's (just check out the Beatle's Sgt. Pepper's meets Incredible String Band’s The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter album cover.)

Seeing that Thom Monahan (The Pernice Brothers) engineered and produced the album explains some of why it's a bit more accessible, but I think the addition of other musicians and traditional instrumentation also adds to the welcoming party. For instance, after the opener "Now That I Know," the listener is treated to three straight tracks that are unlike anything he's recorded prior. "Santa Maria da Feira" (one of three songs in Banhart's native tongue of Spanish) is a flamenco/son ditty that features multi-layered vocals, drums and flute. "Heard Somebody Say," a powerful anti-war song, utilizes piano, bass and drums along with chorus-like vocal tracking. "Long Haired Child" has bass, drums and... gulp... electric guitar, including some fuzzed-out sixties-like guitar callouts. "Long Haired Child" talks about being bald and making up for it with having a child and letting his hair grow long, sentiments which are close to my heart (and bald head:)
My head look like a globe aint no hair on it at all.
do I buy a wig? (Nooooo!)
Should my grow my beard and comb it upwards and around my ears?
Well, I can't wait for the kids to come...
Say hey babe you go no no barber shop
Cause I want, yeah I want, I know for certain,
I'ma want the child to be a long haired child.

-"Long Haired Child"
Even with all the extra polish, Cripple Crow feels even more so a relaxed and easy-going affair with Banhart and company, and the extra layers and more open sound makes for quite an enjoyable listen throughout.

See the new video for "I Feel Like a Child".
(The album comes out tomorrow, September 13th, but has been available in Rhapsody the past week to stream and download in Rhapsody-enabled MP3 players.)

Eat some Cripple Crow
Freak Folk
Freak Folk Beginnings

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1 comment:

drake leLane said...

Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow

* "Now That I Know" - Devendra Banhart
* "Santa Maria da Feira" - Devendra Banhart
* "Heard Somebody Say" - Devendra Banhart
* "Long Haired Child" - Devendra Banhart
* "Lazy Butterfly" - Devendra Banhart
* "Quedate Luna" - Devendra Banhart
* "Queen Bee" - Devendra Banhart
* "I Feel Just Like a Child" - Devendra Banhart
* "Some People Ride the Wave" - Devendra Banhart
* "The Beatles" - Devendra Banhart
* "Dragonflies" - Devendra Banhart
* "When They Come" - Devendra Banhart
* "Inaniel" - Devendra Banhart
* "Hey Mama Wolf" - Devendra Banhart
* "Hows About Tellin' a Story" - Devendra Banhart
* "Chinese Children" - Devendra Banhart
* "Sawkill River" - Devendra Banhart
* "I Love That Man" - Devendra Banhart
* "Luna De Margarita" - Devendra Banhart
* "Korean Dogwood" - Devendra Banhart
* "Little Boys" - Devendra Banhart
* "Anchor" - Devendra Banhart