Devendra Banhart – The Black Babies (UK)

Eight-track mini album from maverick singer-songwriter

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Like Cat Power, this prodigious 21-year-old trades in hushed and intimate lo-fi music which compels the listener to lean in a little closer to the speakers.

Opener “Bluebird” sets the tone, a fragmented, barely-there tune with tape-hiss and poignancy aplenty. “Surgery I Stole” achieves the almost unbearable loveliness that eluded Vincent Gallo’s two albums for Warp, while “Cosmos And Demos” and “Long Song” occupy an uneasy space somewhere between comfort and claustrophobia. Banhart’s high, reedy voice brings to mind damaged twilight troubadours like Tim Buckley and Syd Barrett, but the truth is that The Black Babies is good enough to withstand, even transcend, such comparisons.

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The Velvet Underground, The Black Crowes, Bunny Wailer, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurie Anderson, Blake Mills, Postcard Records, Mogwai and The Selecter
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