free-spirited folkster – WAITING

19 04 2009

And even more. The World is waiting… for Davendra Banharts newest album soon to come out. This guy rocks and we still have to hang on to Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon with its frantic “Carmensita”. Damn!

Davendra Banhart

The mystical love-child of the nu-folk movement, Devendra Banhart exerts an inexplicable pull on the music world. People that don’t like folk, like Devendra Banhart. People who think long-haired hippies belong in the sixties, like Devendra Banhart. People who think singer/songwriters belong in Room 101, still lap up anything by this free-spirited folkster.

So it’s with a degree of trepidation that I approach his new album. Are my critical sensitivities going to stand firm, could I dare to criticise the international pin-up of the folk scene? Thankfully, I don’t have serious cause to. Yes, it’s slightly over-long – weighing in at a weighty 16 tracks – but Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon is his most sophisticated, sprawling work so far.

Recorded late at night in the hills of hippy Californian haven, Topanga, it’s infused with caffeine-fuelled nocturnal energy. Banhart dances from genre to genre, lingering long enough to record the odd ten minute epic and then skipping off again through reggae, rock, jazz and Latino rhythms. His distinctive, lilting growl guiding you through to this entrancing musical jumble.

Reference points abound – there’s a nod to his Venezuelan roots on the lush, tropical sounding “Samba Vexillographica”, a dash of 50s doo-wop with a Jewish twist on “Shabop Shalom”… (read the complete review here)

And if you’re not lucky enough to be in California these days just wait. And wait for more to come…