Devendra Banhart

Rejoicing In The Hands, vagabond twentysomething troubadour Devendra Banhart's unimposing debut, proved an unlikely success, propelling the itinerant folkie into the pages of the New York Times and onto the airwaves of NPR. Its follow-up, Nino Rojo, is billed as a companion piece of sorts, sixteen tracks recorded during the same sessions, all spotlighting Banhart's ravaged acoustic guitar and quivering, crooning vocals (an unlikely morphing of Donovan's hippie warble and Adam Sandler's sophomoric rants) with scant other embellishment. Reminiscent of the skewered delivery of fellow eccentrics Beck and Vic Chesnutt, Banhart's off-kilter musings veer from silly to spooky to pseudo psychedelia. Nevertheless, songs such as "Little Yellow Spider," "We All Know," and "The Good Red Road" are affable and engaging, suggesting a zen-like bliss shimmering just below the surface.

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Lee Zimmerman

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