It's always hard to sum up a whole CD in just a few paragraphs. Some artists work their lyrics into their music and some make the music around the words they write. Devendra Banhart's fourth album is a combination of both smooth melodies and pop beats. His style of music he is creating crosses into the "freak-folk" category. This is the first album of his I have heard but understand he comes from a very four track solo artist background. This album is very polished and you can tell the 24 year old is finding his own voice and sound. The best way I could describe his style is Cat Steven and George Harrison meeting Sid Barrett some where in a New York City park around 1976.
It took me a few times of listening to this CD to see what qualities Banhart has as a song writer. Some of his songs are little too much for me. In the title track 'Cripple Crow' Banhart's voice flutters like a crow and actually makes me queasy when I listen to it. But there are some songs on this CD that do deserve recognition. "Queen Bee" and "Saw Kill River" are wonderful Sunday afternoon songs that make you want to kick back and think about the good things in life. Banhart also has the ability to bring in a tribal beat and help the listeners head bop. "I Feel Just Like a Child" is a fun song about never wanting to grow up and in my favorite song, "Chinese Children' he sings everywhere he'd live he'd have some Chinese Children.
This is not the type of music you would play to help get you out of bed in the morning, rather the type of music that makes you want to curl up under the covers all day. The music has a very broad listener appeal. The front cover of the CD shows a large amount of people similar to the Beatles Sgt. Peppers album. I think Devendra Banhart is trying to show thru his music how kind words and peaceful thought embraces the core of all of humanity. Is this a CD I would listen to everyday? No. It is a CD I would own for about 6 of its' tracks, but 6 of 22 songs is not enough for me to shell out money for.
If you like smooth, almost ethnic sounding music, give this CD a listen. I think it would appeal most to fans of folk styled singer songwriters. On a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the worst and 5 the best, I grade it a 2.5. But hey, I'm just one guy…check out some of it for yourself. www.cripplecrow.com