Devendra Banhartís Oh Me Oh MyÖ
is like a pickle in a teacup. Itís interesting, definitely unique,
and memorable in some ways, but it makes no sense, itís pointless,
and it just doesnít work for me.
Thereís a lot of potential here, especially in the intricate
fingerpicking and foot-tapping melodies, but itís overshadowed
by often unlistenable vocals. And while the poor quality of
the recording lends an intimate feel to the album, itís often
a contributing factor to the (short amount of) time it takes
for me to skip to the next song.
The album has 22 songs, most clocking in around the 1 1/2 to
2 minute range, but you only have to listen to the first nine
to get an idea of what this album is all about: nice fingerpicked
acoustic guitar that would sound at home in a "Time/Life Sounds
of the 70ís collection" (but in a good way), and lyrics that
could be called ďsurrealĒ in that termís most generous connotation
delivered in the style of Gordon Gano gone off his meds.
There are some strong songs on the album -- The Charles
C. Leary is shot through with a neat sense of urgency, Lend
Me Your Teeth has a rolling, menacing quality to it, and
Cosmos and Demos is immediately hummable and probably
the highlight of the album. But these few just canít compensate
for the rest of album. Nice People is plain irritating,
and while Michigan State has a comfortable melody, the
verbal wordplay of the lyrics isnít nearly as clever as it wants
to be. Most of the album after the ninth song (Miss Cain)
is full of songs indistinguishable from each other, except when
they turn bad, like cottage cheese past its expiration date.
Iíd recommend this if you have a karaoke machine that cuts
out vocals, or maybe if you like howler monkeys, but Iím not
sure how much of my audience that includes, so Iíll just say
itís probably not worth your money.