Devendra Banhart

If you believe the songs on Cripple Crow, that goddamned hippie Devendra Banhart is some sort of sexed-up Johnny Appleseed, sewing his freak-folk oats from coast to coast and filling your daughters' wombs with long-haired babies. He starts out just like the wide-eyed innocent we heard on last year's Niño Rojo, secretly seducing us with the sweetly plucked Spanish ditty "Santa Maria da Feira," which hijacks the flute from Canned Heat's "Going Up the Country." But then he slips a psychedelic in our drink with the fuzzed-out "Long-Haired Child" and says he needs us to mama him on "I Feel Just Like a Child." And as messy as this 22-track mind-fuck is, it's hard not to believe him--many of Banhart's songs are the musical equivalent of eating paste and finger painting on the walls. "Chinese Children" sets Banhart's paternal aspirations to a communal lovefest rave-up, but the sperm meets the egg on "Little Boys," where Devendra lets loose his inner soul man and croons about the "plenty little kids" he's yet to father over some slick Steve Cropper guitar licks and the bass line from Little Peggy March's "I Will Follow Him." Damn you, Devendra. I need a cigarette--and I don't even smoke.

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