This is his fourth studio album and first in the US through XL Recordings. Devendra exploded on the international music scene three years ago, quickly accumulating devoted fans as well as an unusually hefty amount of criti... more »cal kudos with his debut and subsequent releases. "There's something about Banhart's muse that defies words and logic, something to these songs that hints at a deeper connection to the cosmos than most of us share. Jeff Buckley might have had that gift; John Lennon and Van Morrison certainly did. Add to that list Devendra Banhart, an astonishing talent whose future work promises to bring us to exciting new places" - Harp Magazine. "...it's Banhart's gift for melody that ultimately carries the day, littering the album with slyly entrancing tunes that recall the pleasure of old campfire songs. It's enough to cure even a hardened cynic" - Blender.« less
This is his fourth studio album and first in the US through XL Recordings. Devendra exploded on the international music scene three years ago, quickly accumulating devoted fans as well as an unusually hefty amount of critical kudos with his debut and subsequent releases. "There's something about Banhart's muse that defies words and logic, something to these songs that hints at a deeper connection to the cosmos than most of us share. Jeff Buckley might have had that gift; John Lennon and Van Morrison certainly did. Add to that list Devendra Banhart, an astonishing talent whose future work promises to bring us to exciting new places" - Harp Magazine. "...it's Banhart's gift for melody that ultimately carries the day, littering the album with slyly entrancing tunes that recall the pleasure of old campfire songs. It's enough to cure even a hardened cynic" - Blender.
"There's plenty that has been said about Devendra's gifts -the praise being quite deserved- yet when it comes to Cripple Crow being some sort of step back in his musical development, I believe its critics are being a bit too harsh.
As far as I'm concerned, all comparisons aside, the material here belongs with and should meet the expectations of those who have been deeply impressed by his prior output. Banhart's mature musical vision is, specially considering how young he is and how adventurous he remains when it comes to writing new songs, nothing less than remarkable.
Before I ever heard this album, some people whom I know and respect warned me that I may find it boring or disappointing. Well, that has not been the case for me, you may find Cripple Crow less obscure, more accessible than prior albums but this is not to say that this guy has even come close to "selling out" or "losing his touch." The fact that these songs may hit you immediately or have you under their spell at first listening, should not be a reason to criticize them. After all, "accessible" should not be an indictment on Banhart, and songs like "Now That I Know," "I Feel Just Like A Child," or "Hey Mama Wolf" definitely belong to the same imagination and mischief present in prior albums.
If you are looking for proof of breadth -something this album's critics said it lacked- just gather "Luna De Margarita," "Chinese Children," "Korean Dogwood" and "Little Boys," and you may recognize the kind of adventurous musical range that alternative Folk has not seen since the Incredible String Band.
In addition to those, I'd like to mention the few he sings in Spanish. If your definition of Folk transcends the Anglo tradition, you'll find delight on Banhart gift for Latin American melodies, particularly the beautiful "Santa Maria De Feira," as well as "Luna De Margarita" and "Quedate Luna."
All in all, this is an very good album, and for me, possibly as satisfying in its own right as "Niño Rojo" or Rejoicing In The Hands." If you have been floored by this guy creativity and disregard for the safety of prior successes, you may buy it without worries nor hesitation."
Hidden Mp3 track
Nicholas Soucy | Lansing, Mi United States | 12/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some of you might already know this, but I didn't read any mention of it in the other reviews. There is a separate or "hidden" track that is about 8 minutes long called "White Reggae Troll/Africa". So, actually, this album has 23 tracks. I think this track's title further identifies the subtle Reggae influences, infused with folk, rock, alternative, bluegrass and other genres that amalgamate into the entirety of Cripple Crow.
Banhart is an excellent neo-folk talent whom I first heard on Antony and the Johnson's "I Am a Bird Now" album. The tracks are musically and lyrically diverse, performed in both Spanish and English, united by a calm, earthy undertone that is pleasant like Iron and Wine (though comfortably distinct). Though these tracks are largely mellow, it grooves with enough soul to keep the listener from falling asleep.
The music has an indigenous quality to it; I'm using that term a little loosely. It just makes me think of the music that the aboriginal musicians would be making today if most of them hadn't been killed off.
Cripple Crow will make a superb addition to your collection. The album offers a nice balance of longer songs interspersed with shorter ones, which comprise about 80 minutes worth of fun, contemplative and poetic tunes to keep your heart at peace.
I rate this album at 4.2 stars. It improves after several listens, like Nick Drake albums did for me."
Devendra delivers on the promise
F. Beal | Oakland, CA United States | 10/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently bought a slew of new albums, this being one of about five. And among that rainfall of music, this one stands out as the clear winner. Devendra first piqued my curiosity with Nino Rojo-and while I love that record, it was definitely a mood piece-something to put on in the middle of a very quiet night alone. I didn't want anyone else to hear it. Cripple Crow is like the lovely Sunday morning after that long dark winter night. The first comparison that comes up is something along the lines of George Harrison's great sprawling post-Beatles work. But I never felt like I could claim that music as my own in the way I can with Devendra.
Now lest you think I'm some hirsute hippy making daisy chains and soaking in patchouli, I am a huge Melvins fan and vehement post-hippy (I can't really call myself anti- as I went to school in Santa Cruz and I have some hippies in my family). Devendra goes above and beyond any labels as quaint as "freak folk" or "hippy". He's just making great music.
The sound of Cripple Crow is open and warm. It's like being invited to a big late summer feast at Devendra's house. It goes well with wine. It sounds like September. It needs to be played over and over again (I'm trying not to wear it out). And his Spanish-sung tunes are just fantastic: a little bit of Caetano, a little Gilberto Gil, with that same childlike warbly Devendra voice.
Buy it now!!!"
Not his best, but a great place to start
B. A Riesgraf | St. Cloud, Minnesota United States | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Devendra Banhart is among the artists who were tagged as being part of the neo-folk revival that was all over the independent music press a few years ago. Thankfully, "freak folk" is much less of a buzz word right now, so anyone finding this music for the first time is most likely curious because they have a genuine interest, rather than because of some external pressure.
That having been said, Cripple Crow is a great album by a great artist and I would strongly recommend it to anyone new to Devendra Banhart. There's more emphasis on fun, catchy tunes and an easy-going hippie aesthetic here than on some of his earlier albums (tropicalia is a big influence) - more variety, too. In some ways, that detracts from the music's ability to draw the listener in, but it also makes Cripple Crow a joy to hear over and over again. In fact, I've enjoyed this album more and more on successive listens, a phenomenon that I don't often experience.
And the songs are really wonderful - I tend to listen to Cripple Crow for individual songs rather than as a cohesive whole. "Now that I Know", "Santa Maria de la Feira", "Heard Somebody Say", "Quedate Luna", "I Feel Just like A Child", "Dragonflies", "Cripple Crow", "Hey Mama Wolf", "Little Boys", and "Anchor" are all highlights. Buy it, try it, give it a chance."
The Anti-Rock Star Matures
Michael Foudy | Scottsdale, AZ USA | 11/07/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was first introduced to Devendra on a terrific show found on the NPR website called "All Songs Considered," and I rushed out and bought "Rejoicing." Recently, a neopsychedelic show called the Kaleidoscope Cafe on the website Radio Free Phoenix featured the track "Heard Somebody Say," and it gave me the chills. It is the best of the handful of Iraq War songs and deserves to be alongside the great protest songs of John Lennon. I purchased the album based on that song alone and I was not disappointed. It doesn't have the gritty street performer sound of his previous releases, which is a good thing. You will hear tremendous growth and a great sense of things to come from this amazing artist."