6:00 AM GMT 22/06/2011
Crackpot from Caracas perfects his early surge of sweet’n’sinisterly surreal meanderings.
This week is Folk Week on MOJO, and every Disc Of The Day will have a folk or folk-rock bent.
A revival needs a revivalist, a preacherman to bring the scattered faithful rallying to a flag. For the burgeoning nu-folk vanguard, Devendra Banhart was that man – a natural enthusiast with charm, ebullience and an infectious preference for letting it all hang out. With restricting cool codes in the bin, out came the freakish folk-rock reference points – Donovan, Vashti Bunyan, Tyrannosaurus Rex – and attendant tricksterish childperson philosophy, all colourfully encapsulated on this tour-de-force of ingenu fingerpicking and bold, lysergic lyricism. Beards gently hold him, wombs feature heavily, Banhart might take his teeth out “and show them a real good time” – it’s kooky in an ooky kind of way, like the trip’s on the cusp of turning bad and within the Sunshine Superman there lurks an inner Skip Spence, all greying lips and extra fingers growing. And yet The Body Breaks’ West Coasty pop-folk pointed a prescient way out of the underground’s wyrdwood, a route he may yet tread in earnest (although 2007’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon suggested he’d decided to neither shit nor get off the pot). Wherever he goes next, it will be hard to match Rejoicing...’s air of creative glee, or the rush of optimistic bliss – epitomised by his duet with Vashti Bunyan on the title track – that accompanies Banhart at his best. As the man says, rather winningly: “We’ve known we’ve had a choice; we chose ‘rejoice’…”
Posted by Danny_Eccleston at 6:00 AM GMT 02/05/2008
Devendra Banhart – Niña Rojo (XL)
Tyrannosaurus Rex – A Beard Of Stars (Regal Zonophone)