I’m not sure I buy the whole “freak folk” label placed on Devendra Banhart. I mean I guess I reluctantly do. In a way it’s an apt description, but really how do you label someone who clearly floats through life to their own ethereal frequency? Nowhere is the freak flag flying higher than on the songwriters latest album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. It’s, well, it’s a difficult album to process. Musical it is one of the more enjoyable and adventurous albums to be released this year, but it’s almost too difficult to take Banhart seriously.
The baggage of his personality, the adopted role of mystical shaman poet (not to be confused with Jim Morrison’s dark take on this same personality, his was merely rock star posturing, but to look at Banhart you have to wonder if he actually believes this is who he thinks he is or should be) almost outweighs the heights he soars here.
I say almost, because at the end of the day the music is all that matters. Lots of songs standout but we love the 70’s disco sunshiney dance funk of “Lover” (Mp3).
It takes you back to a mythological age of roller skates, bubblegum, eight tracks and that feeling of disposable good times. How could it not with lyrics like “I wanna be your cow / give ya all the milk around.” Still, that’s one damn groovy bass line and guitar hook. One of the best this year. It doesn’t get much better than the initial excitement of summertime love and wanting something so bad, looking from afar across the pool.
You can purchase Devendra Banhart’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon at Amazon.
Believe me, it’s worth it to own and listen to many many times.? This is one album that sounds off-putting at first, but truly is a gem with repeat listens.? Give it a shot if you can.? Sonically gorgeous but lyrically goofy.