Devendra Banhart, Rejoicing in the Hands

Amanda Petrusich

By Amanda Petrusich

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A sacred text from the founding father of freakfolk.

No matter how much disdain he voices for the genre, Devendra Banhart is the founding father of contemporary freakfolk, and Rejoicing in the Hands… is its sacred text. Taking cues from late '60s warblers Tiny Tim, Marc Bolan and Donovan, Banhart trills about nonsensical creatures in absurd situations, including his beard and other biological ephemera ("Because my teeth don't bite/ I can take them out dancing") over carefully plucked classical guitar and quick bits of strings. The raven-haired, perennially shirtless Banhart tiptoes the line between Renaissance Faire tomfoolery and backwoods earnestness, and when he stumbles — see the instrumental "Tit Smoking in the Temple of Artisan Mimicry" — the results can be oddly glorious, all nylon guitar swirls and criss-crossing melodies.