Devendra Banhart‘s Ape In Pink Marble is the epitome of a Sunday afternoon. Devendra uses reverberating acoustics to amplify lyrics that perfectly encapsulate the apathetic lull of everyday life. Teamed with funky riffs and reggae breaks, this is the ultimate comedown album.
When I first heard this track I was enamoured. The hypnotic plucked guitar combined with custard-like vocals make for an end-of-week vibe like no other. The vocals depict a kind of haunting intimacy that is simultaneously comforting and provocative. The lyrics melt into your veins with the kind of simplicity that is often made muddy through metaphor.
Instead, this is the simple and humble truth of everyday life. Romantic and platonic love becomes one and the same. It is the feeling of closely missed encounters. It encapsulates loss and hope with the kind of authenticity that is unique to Devendra Banhart.
Good Time Charlie:
This track plays on ’60s happy-go-lucky tunes. It’s almost like Mungo Jerry dropped acid and discovered cosmology. Teamed with wooden percussion and child-like breaths of innocence, Devendra employs atmospheric effects to create the feeling of disconnected attraction. It’s as relevant to a bar-dwelling bachelor as it is to a leather clad cougar. It perfectly encapsulates the mask we all adorn to seem attractive – regardless of coital success.
Every look begins with a disguise, I saw it in your eyes.
Jon Lends A Hand:
This track is the epitome of European charm. Exaggerated compliments are teamed with spanky-sultry guitar riffs to create the ultimate dedication to a lover in another league. It takes on Beatles-like simplicity to convey the exact feeling of walking into a room and seeing an outrageously good-looking person that you can only attempt to charm.
I know the whole world says to you, but I’m gonna say it too. There’s no one I ever knew, quite is beautiful as you.
Mara uses delayed guitar and repeated phrases to create a consistent longing feel. Romantic nostalgia is swirled amongst reggae beats to put a playful spin on the harsh realities of lust.
I fell from one track to the next. I fell from one track to the next. I close my eyes, see the same things. Look away. I can always recognise it by the laughter that it makes. I can always recognise it by the laughter that it makes.
In total contrast to the last two tracks, Fancy Man is in a league of its own. With beats that pay homage to the likes of ’80s classics like Gary Numan, this is a playful take on love depicted by an entirely made up character. This is the aural depiction of the fruitless pursuit of older men. And it’s swirled deliciously around catwalk-like funk, making it appealing and relatable to any audience.
Fig In Leather:
Fig In Leather fits so well after Fancy Man it could almost be conjoined into a single track. This is the song that makes hesitant dancers break into a full Harlem Shake. It’s so funky it could make oak trees jiggle. The bass line walks all over Los Angeles.
Theme For A Taiwanese Woman In Lime Green:
This is the kind of Bossa Nova that is accessible to anyone. It tricks you into an elevator-like sense of security and then throws unsuspecting seduction right at you. It’s ideal for the end of the night. Everyone is thinking about going home. You all call for last cigarettes and then..
“Now don’t you worry, even though it’s time to go. While I know you’ve got to hurry. Do it slow. I wanna love you once more.. even though we’ve never loved before.”
The guitar on this track is ridiculously reminiscent of whirring cassette tapes from the ’80s. It’s a bit like Mac DeMarco had an affair with Lou Reed. It is heart-achingly beautiful and poetic without trying to be. Devendra also makes a ridiculous musical feat in managing to make reference to rainfall without seeming cliche.
Tuesday is rain, Tuesday is rain. They used to not dare, but now they love to go dancing…
..Because when love shows it’s face, the rest falls into place.
Mourners Dance is again reminiscent of the dark-synth tones of Gary Numan. It hits the same nostalgic nerve in our hearts that we all felt from Stranger Things. Teamed with sitar-like riffs it pays homage to Devendra’s previous albums like Rejoicing In The Hands. It is ethereality at its rawest.
The early writing show, the sequence of the dance. The individual awakens and expands.
The reverberating drums couple with Devendra’s vocals to create a laid-back almost tribal vibe. In true Devendra style his depiction of a Saturday night is more celestial ambience than clubs and drinking.
The delicious blues build-up precedes a sultry androgynous narrative about a lonely woman experiencing the kind of grief that is so intense that it becomes abstract. It’s a kind of homage to everyone who has ever lost someone with the confidence to say that it’s actually not okay. But with much-needed confidence in the hope that things will still go on.
Ape In Pink Marble is out today via Nonesuch