Devendra Banhart - Nino Roja

The LP cover is drab, self contained and devoid of anything snappy or bright or alluring. A perfect summary of the music.

 

This is an album that fairly drips with its own self indulgence. It reminds one of some awful EKO honey made with bees who have individual name tags affixed to their tiny feet. I find the whole package overly long, annoyingly dissipated in delivery and very fragmented in its intent; unless it's intention is to make you feel weary and mildy annoyed? If that's the case, then it succeeds brilliantly.

 

It just never ends. And I wish it would. It starts in first gear and trundles along quite happily, like an old two cylinder car owned by somebody who weaves their own clothes out of flax or somebody that has tried to run their car on gas produced by fermented cabbage leaves. Of course, behind this car, there are millions of other cars, (with you and me in them), desperate for the smug git driver to speed up, get off the road, turn off into some field, do anything, if only to at least recognise our wish for greater dash, verve, risk, speed. But no. It trundles on, oblivious to all. Menacingly smug. Imbued with a sense of it's own importance and rectitude. Ready to report any overtaking to the authorities.

 

Enough!

 

Hopefully you've gleaned some inkling of my thoughts on this album. If you feel inclined to disagree with my appraisal and still feel like you need to listen to this album then may I, as a further argument against your doing so, direct your attention to the cover. The cover sums this album up brilliantly. Let me explain my reading of it; and why I find it a beautifully appropriate visual summary for the music contained within.

 

Set on a background of wrapping paper brown the cover art is, essentially, an oval composed from small, greyish-brown dip-pen scratchings, all a mere dash in length; starting from the oval's perimeter and working inwards in a meticulous and incredibly self absorbed manner. It is drab, self contained and devoid of anything snappy or bright or alluring. A perfect summary of the music. And I bet he thought he was being artistic and whimsical with this cover.

 

Hell, I hate dissing stuff. I'm really sorry Devendra, I don't like it. Please, don't take to heart what I said. But please try something different next time?