Devendra Banhart – Ape In Pink Marble
The title hardly suggests it, but Ape In Pink Marble features Devendra Banhart at his most well behaved. There are no bursts of dance music like on ‘My Fine Petting Duck’ from Mala, or searing guitar solos à la ‘Seahorse’ on Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. This is the official Olympic flag bearer for the People’s Republic of Freak Folk minding his musical Ps and Qs. The result is an even quieter and more intimate offering than his most recent outings. And yet this is still a quintessentially Devendra Banhart album. The slight tremor in the vocal from the very first lines of the first song. The totally groovy, Latin-influenced tracks. And, of course, the general sense of playfulness throughout. “Me and my policeman, pulling over everyone we can, sometimes I breathalyse, and he gives DUIs”, on ‘Good Time Charlie’. There are some innovations. The slight Asian-tinged sounds on a couple of the tracks. “I heard there’s a new zoo in Thailand, so I hitchhiked on a private flight and got there, man fast!”. The many false endings on ‘Linda’. It’s all a variation on a by now familiar Banhartian theme, but what a lovely theme. “I embody the same song stuck on repeat, drunk mom in the lobby, sad cop on the beat”. This is Devendra Banhart’s ninth album no less. Relative to when he first burst upon the scene, his output has slowed down somewhat in recent times. Happily, Ape In Pink Marble proves that a new Devendra Banhart album is still something well worth waiting for.