Release Date: May 4, 2004
Record label: Young God
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Devendra Banhart was a hobo-minstrel when he was first spotted by Michael Gira of Young God Records (which releases his material in the US). For this new album, Gira installed Banhart in an old house down in cotton-field country, set up a few microphones and let the tapes run while the artist played his songs continuously for 10 days. The results sound like old field recordings from the Smithsonian Institute, albeit with a little more sonic polish: Banhart writes tunes of primitive simplicity, matched to lyrics that sound as if they might have come from psalms or the Book of Revelations.
Possessed with a nimble fingers and quivering vibrato, Devendra Banhart's approach to both British and American folk forms catapulted him to the forefront of a burgeoning folk set faster than you could say "revival." He wowed Young God head Michael Gira with a clutch of homemade tapes recorded over the course of his travels that later became his debut, Oh Me, Oh My.... Granted, while his skills and craft as a songwriter were generally excellent, the tunes were sometimes aimless, locking in on his high-pitched braying and tape hiss that sometimes threatened to strangle his songs. Rejoicing in the Hands, his second proper full-length (and the first of two slated for release this year), comes as a bit of a shock, then.