Album Reviews

    First of all, Devendra Banhart is a dude, not a chick. Secondly, he plays a mean acoustic guitar, fingerpicked Nick Drake-style with virtuoso flair. Lastly, Rejoicing in the Hands is a perfect antidote to flashy modern music, referencing “old-timey” sounds with grace and humor.

    “This is the Way” repeats a simple guitar and vocal melody with funny lines like “This is the beard I’m always growing.” It sounds akin to a children’s song, while “A Sight to Behold” could be by a different artist entirely. Featuring Spanish-style strumming, tasteful violins and a bluesy melody, the song is a forthright example of Banhart’s genre-bending within the confines of little more than his guitar and charismatic voice.

    Occasionally, Banhart’s erratic style can sound tryingly weird and eclectic. His style also clearly evokes early T. Rex (best known for their 1970s glam-rock hit “Bang a Gong”), especially vocally. But the more pressing problems point to his promise as an artist rather than his flaws. The spare guitar-and-vocals setup clearly confines Banhart, as flirtations with strings and drums uncover fine results. Even his bad ideas, such as the Spanish lyrics of “Todo los Dolores,” are broken up by good ones such as the upbeat guitar breakdown that ends the song. Banhart may be looking backward, but in all the right ways.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal