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Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day

Devendra Banhart Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 32.92
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Product Details


1. Tick Eats The Olives
2. Roots
3. The Charles C. Leary
4. Nice People
5. Animals
6. Cosmos And Demos
7. Michigan State
8. Lend Me Your Teeth
9. Hey Miss Cane
10. Soon Is Good
11. Tell Me Something
12. The Red Lagoon
13. A Gentle Soul
14. Happy Happy Oh
15. Pumpkin Seeds
16. The Thumbs
17. Legless Love
18. Marigold
19. Make It Easier
20. Ones
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.ca

The full title of this album is Oh Me Oh My the Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit. This sums up singer-songwriter Devendra Banhart reasonably well, demonstrating as it does an engagingly whimsical imagination, an evocative turn of phrase and a vast capacity to irritate. There are moments on Oh Me Oh My… which will have the listener drawing appreciative comparisons with Syd Barret and Elliot Smith, and there are hours during which you'll want to swat Banhart with his own guitar.

What Banhart really needs is a good editor. When he's good, as on the sombre and pretty "Animals" and "Cosmos and Demos", he radiates a downbeat charm that suits his lo-fi approach to recording perfectly. When he's bad, as on the laboured, wilfully annoying avant-garde nonsense--unhappily reminiscent of Vic Chestnutt at his least agreeable--that constitutes too much of the rest of the album, he's unlistenable. On Oh Me Oh My…, the balance is just about on the credit side of the ledger. --Andrew Mueller

Product Description

The first thing that strikes you about Devendra Banhart is his utterly unique and soft voice, which seems a mix of Nick Drake and Marc Bolan. "Roots (If the Sky Were a Stone)" is a perfect example of this, as Banhart uses his vocals and an acoustic guitar to get his brief yet often memorable points across. Originally recorded on shoddy and broken four-track recorders, the songs have a definitive roughness and audible hiss on nearly all of them, giving them a certain authenticity rarely found. Cars can be heard driving past in "The Charles C. Leary," but that performance is only one of the many highlights here. A number of the tracks are less than or just over one minute in length, often stream-of-conscious poetry put to music. The fragility heard in "Nice People" resembles Victoria Williams but evolves into a Syd Barrett song structure, speaking of "wide ass suits and lion tattoos." Barrett can be discerned throughout the record, especially during "Gentle Soul." "Cosmos and Demos" lends itself more toward Pink Floyd performing something from Echoes, perhaps the acoustic-oriented "Fearless." Lyrically the songs are quite odd and occasionally nonsensical, particularly "Michigan State." Here Banhart speaks of a friend who has his favorite teeth and ears. Perhaps comparisons could be drawn to Hawksley Workman and Hayden to a lesser extent, but Banhart makes both artists sound bland in comparison. "Lend Me Your Teeth" is the most mainstream-structured arrangement, with Banhart showing a bit more intensity. The standout track would have to be "Miss Cain," which has a pretty harmony vocal to it as Banhart picks his guitar in a rather intricate fashion. "Soon Is Good" is the most promising track, but the sound levels tend to fluctuate from verse to verse. An almost ethereal and angelic performance compensates for its shortcomings, though. A lot of the songs appear to be not fully realized, but perhaps that's the beauty of them. When tracks like "Pumpkin Seeds" are entirely flushed out, it's pure magic as the acoustic folk angle is played out to near perfection. "Legless Love" has a handclap tempo to it that resembles a flamenco style as Banhart describes burying songs in snails. Throughout the record, Banhart is never guilty of being artistic just for the sake of being artistic. Each track rings true and can't be deemed contrived. "Donal and Colter" is the most up-tempo song, but even then it's still mid-tempo at best. ~ Jason MacNeil, Rovi

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars oh...MY March 6 2004
Format:Audio CD
This disc is so beautiful.
Some people have described it as having, perhaps, "evil" qualities, and I suppose I see it in some of the songs (The Charles C. Leary, maybe)..but, all in all, I really think it's just delightful.
Personally, I love The Spirit is Near.
The foot stomping and sporadic shrieks really get me going. This man is a genius!
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4.0 out of 5 stars I want my blanket... Feb. 4 2004
Format:Audio CD
These songs give me the creeps, the kind that make me stay up all night with every light in the house on, with a few candles lit and a few prayers whispered for good measure. Still the cd keeps playing, all through the night until dawn comes because I just can't seem to stop listening. Like chimera or yet discovered flora, these songs crawl under your skin...and Devendra's voice-at times "Yeesh!" and at other times-pure, haunted beauty-still other times raw sensuality. There does seem something truly evil about this CD, but in that darkness there is a light I cannot pinpoint. Perhaps that's the appeal. At any rate, 'Oh me oh my...' inspires me, makes me feel younger than my 28 years, like I was 19 again and still even interested in music.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Oh Me Oh My"! It's Devendra July 3 2003
Format:Audio CD
I'm not sure what to make of Devendra Banhart. He tiptoes on the margin between sublime and sheer lunacy. "Oh Me Oh My" is one of those rare CDs you put on, in an altered state, at 3 am in the morning, and like a bolt of lightining the genius of the artist strikes you. I listened to Skip Spence's "Oar" for several months before the elusive quality of his brilliance sank in. Devendra is a similar type of artist.
The production values are charmingly low-fi and the lyrics...well... let's just say if you find a meaning in the content of Banhart's lyrics, then you are capable of some very loose associations. A lot the lyrics resemble the stream of consciouness, automatic writting practiced by Andre Breton and his brethern in French surrealist movement. It is just a guy and his guitar and a voice that defies any precedents. No production tricks like crunchy loops or sound reprocessing. He soars and swoops from pleasant mid range voice into a screeching falsetto almost at a whim. He pays little attention to conventional musical structures. It's almost as if Mr. Banheart never heard music at all, or even knew what a guitar was; and some guy handed him a guitar and said,"Here, Devandra do something with this thing."
I will be interested in seeing where Devandra goes from here. Yesterday's low-fi genius, often becomes tomorrow's charlatan, after two or three releases. Is he a savant or an idiot? I'm sure we will get the answer in a year or two. Unconventional artists like Devandra don't have a lot of choices: they either melt down like Syd and Skip, or persue more centrist musical directions. A few artists like Beck and Captain Beefheart can pull it off, but smart money isn't betting on it yet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie, effective, and otherworldly... April 24 2003
By --
Format:Audio CD
I had high expectations for this album based on the hype I'd read. Although Banhart at times does indeed reach for a bizarre falsetto, I thought it would be more obviously demented than it turned out to be, but after a while it worked its unusual magic on me. As has been previously mentioned here, there is little more at work here than an accoustic guitar, voice, and a basic four-track recorder. The vocals are multi-tracked most of the time, which because of their looseness gives the songs a very strange choral effect that actually gets to be quite chilling. The songs here are great, with bittersweet melodies that will stick in your head for days, and the lo-fi production only adds to the ethereal, unsettling vibe. And of course there are the odd interludes here and there which sound like old records being played through an ancient, crackling cable.
If I had to draw comparisons, I would definately cite Tiny Tim, the accoustic/folkish Current 93 material, and maybe Marc Bolan? In any case, I can say with a clear conscience that this would be right at home within the World Serpent roster.
Overall, this is spooky yet very charming; quite an implausible but intoxicating achievement that must be heard to be believed.
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