Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Devendra Banhart - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

Okay then so this one has received some pretty dodgy reviews across the board, partly I think in reaction to the equally bad reviews of some of Banhart's recent solo shows. I wasn't expecting much from it if i'm honest, i'd really liked his first few records but not really liked much i'd heard from Cripple Crow or his other work since then. Surprisingly then, Smokey Rolls... is actually far more enjoyable than I was expecting. Yes, it's too long (as all his records are), and yes that does mean that there's a fair few very skippable tracks, but overall I've found that the thing that most people have criticised the record for, it's experimentation in newer genres, actually produces some of the album's best tracks. In particular the explorations into funk and soul found in Lover and Saved are really pretty great and prove Banhart not to be the one or two trick pony a lot of people claim him to be. Perhaps another reason for the bad reviews is that the album starts with three of its silliest and least enjoyable tracks. However once these are out of the way it's pretty much plain sailing, and the mellow San-Fran psych mood which penetrates even those more diverse explorations into new musical territories really makes it an enjoyable and even quite cohesive work. Anyway, see what you think...

Devendra Banhart - Sea Horse
Devendra Banhart - Lover


Blogger coxon le woof said...

Got to say, I agree with most of the pretty dodgy reviews.

Seems like there is too much going on and none of it is particularly good.

9:34 am, October 03, 2007  
Blogger Michal said...

I can see the points everyone seems to be making about this album, I still think it's pretty great. I've always treated litening to Devendra's records as a bit of a process, they all seem to flow in a certain way and every now and then I pick up on a melody, or line that stays with me. I think that this album works really well when listened to in that way, there are times when nothing seems to be happening for a while only for the mood, or tempo to change and make it all make sense, somehow.

Anyhow, I really like the progress Devendra's made on this 'Smokey...'. Cripple Crow didn't really do it for me, especially comparing to his rejoicing/nino rojo era, but I really like how he's developing.

Very nice blog btw.

10:35 pm, October 08, 2007  

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