In this epoch of prolonged despair, the levity intrinsic to Devendra Banhart’s oeuvre really ought to be welcomed more readily than ever. And, true to form, Kantori Ongaku – from his forthcoming Ma full-length – is a suitably breezy doozy: roughly translating as ‘country music’, woozy, chorus-ridden guitars replace pedal steel, while Banhart’s recognisably salivary delivery is smoother than that of any wayfarin’ crooner. “All the death in my house makes it easy to shop online/ Where the signal is strong, and the tech flows like wine,” he’ll lampoon in rounded, Marc Bolan-like tones, although this trademarkedly outré lyricism is somewhat offset by more introspective takes (“What’s the lovin’ I’ve made to the lovin’ I lack/ I showed up at your wedding, hoping you would take me back”) and idiomatic, pseudo-Asiatic sayings (“I know you’ve travelled far, but you’re still where you are”). Certain to “light up your face” in an instant, in any case.
Ma is available from September 13th via Nonesuch Records.