Devendra Banhart
Nino Rojo
/young god; 2004/

more info:

After having spent spring listening to Rejoicing in the Hands I got addicted to Devendra Banhart's Golden Apples of the Sun compilation (which is awesome if you like timeless folk music and blues) and just when I thought I was getting tired of him he releases Nino Rojo.

Banhart is a man with a concept. The singer in Rejoicing in the Hands was wise and ageless, in Nino Rojo he is the red child, having fun under the sun. Both records were recorded during the same recording sessions but they show two sides of Banhart's music. Rejoicing... features dark blues and slow folk, Nino Rojo is filled with campfire songs and 60s psychedelic folk. In that respect Nino Rojo can be a bit unsettling at first, because the previous album's brooding character is gone and replaced by some kind of late 19th century wild boy.

Musically Nino Rojo is a bit less bare but far from being more or over produced, some songs make me think of Donovan, and i hate Donovan, but others are just impressive. You can hear there are more people involved in songs like "At the Hop," composed with Andy Cabic of Vetiver (in which Banhart also plays) or the stellar "Noah".

Much more than a collection of outtakes from the Rejoicing in the Hands sessions, this is the second part of an impressive diptych. Banhart's genuine talent impresses once again and as the five minutes marching band singalong "Electric Heart" slowly unfolds, closing this next trip into another side of his musical world, i'm far from feeling tired of him.

-Barbara H

/oct 1st 2004/