Release Date: Sep 13, 2005
Record label: XL / Beggars Banquet
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Cripple Crow marks a departure for Devendra Banhart. It's obvious from the faux Sgt. Pepper-meets-Incredible String Band freak scene cover photo that something is afoot. The disc is Banhart's first foray from Michael Gira's Young God label, and it's more adventurous than anything he's done before ….
Devendra Banhart, the itinerant Texan minstrel with a base in San Francisco, has come a long way since his low- fidelity, high-word-count debut Oh Me Oh My the Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit. His second and third albums, both released last year - Nino Rojo and Rejoicing in the Hands - made the poster boy for the freak-folk movement something surprisingly close to a rock star. There were even reports from his recent tour of women tossing underwear at him (as disconcerting a notion as sitting cross-legged in a room reeking of incense while Tom Jones chants Om).
Devendra Banhart apparently doesn’t believe in time off: less than a year after the release of Nino Rojo, the second of his two full-length releases in 2004, the prolific troubadour is back with the 22-song, 74-minute Cripple Crow. Crow significantly marks Banhart’s first work independent of Young God Records owner/Angels of Light frontman Michael Gira: he produced and released Banhart’s last two records, and also more-or-less single-handedly brought him to the attention of the music world. The shift in producer and label is accompanied by a move into new stylistic territory: less folky and more eclectic than his past work, Crow offers ample evidence of growth in Banhart’s range as both a performer and a songwriter.