Released just this past September, “Ape in Pink Marble” is Devendra Banhart’s ninth full-length album, the second with Nonesuch Records, and continues his long time collaborations with musicians and producers Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick.
The thirteen new tracks are a succession of the trippy psychedelic folk rock we’ve come to expect from Banhart — some funkier than others, some more easily interpreted than others– but all equally at home in a sparsely merchandised, over priced pop-up shop or playing through a bluetooth speaker as you travel through this “New Weird America” in a van out of which you are living.
Is the music itself extraordinary? Not necessarily, but it does seem to be extraordinarily insightful when it comes to describing life’s weird little moments. Are you lying alone on a mattress on the floor of your Brooklyn apartment after the departure of your lover and wondering if they miss you the way you’re missing them? Try out “Fig in Leather” for size.
Finally getting over a break up, accepting that you have to go out and live again when your ex wants to hang out again? Then “Saturday Night” will make much sense as Banhart moans “Please don’t love me because you’re through hating you.”
Are you waiting to be seated at a local fusion cuisine restaurant to celebrate your cousin’s graduation while your grandmother wonders what in the world she will eat at this place and your grandfather complains to the hostess about his diabetes? Devendra will provide the perfect background music–inoffensive to the ears of your older relatives yet conducive to a poetic mental escape. You might not understand it, but if you want to take a trip, you have to be ready to go wherever the trip takes you.
We can thank Rhythm Foundation for bringing Banhart–and many other international artists– to Miami. The nonprofit is in its 29th season of sponsoring performances and organizing community-based programs. As of 2015, Rhythm Foundation has been managing the North Beach Bandshell, where Banhart will enchant South Floridians at one of three stops in the Sunshine State on a North American tour before heading to Europe in April.
Banhart will perform at the historic North Beach Bandshell Saturday, Feb. 25. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $27.50 + fees online or $35 at the door. Call (305) 672-5202 or visit www.northbeachbandshell.com for more info.
~ Jessica Chesler