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CRIPPLE CROW [Vinyl]
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Performer Notes
  • This diverse, engaging album finds the pied piper of the neo-psych-folk movement finally emerging--dirty and barefoot--from the lo-fi forest and into Woodstock's famed Bear Mountain Studio, backed by a loose conglomerate of musicians dubbed Hairy Fairy. The production polish doesn't clean the songs up so much as make them warmer and more relaxed. "Santa Maria De Feira," with its vocal harmonies, shaker, flute, and Spanish lyrics, follows a mournful, cello-backed opener that recalls Nick Drake. "Heard Somebody Say" combines timeless anti-war lyrics and Brasil '66-style vocals with a lurching piano-and-drums groove, while "When they Come" stands out as a beautiful work of hushed melancholy, with a vibe strung-out enough for a Mazzy Star record.
  • With 22 tracks, this is no wild, shirtless shout in the moonlight but a sophisticated work of countercultural art that would be right at home as a mind-bending double LP from 1968. The electric-guitar freak-out in "Long Haired Child," the sing-along of "Some People Ride the Wave," and the mumbling and growling in "The Beatles" all serve to demonstrate just how goofy Banhart's songs can be while still aching with intense profundity.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (No. 983, p.107) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...[J]oyful melodies on charming, fully realized tunes...the soundof a talented space cadet finding his bearings."

Entertainment Weekly (No. 840, p.86) - "...[T]he singer tackles tropicalia and '60s soul with aplomb, his boundless talents in full flight." - Grade: A-

Uncut (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[H]e further fleshes out the quavering song-sketches that appeared on his earlier releases. Drawing on harmony-laden '60s pop, Indian-tinged psychedelia and Brazilian Tropicalia for light and shade."

Magnet (p.53) - Ranked #17 in Magnet's "The 20 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[The] album encompasses the sort of breadth - from psychedelia to tropicalia to baroque pop - you thought died in the early '70s."

Magnet (p.87) - "[L]aced with splashy ballads, one of them sung in impeccable Spanish....Enthralling music that embraces you..."

The Wire (p.51) - "This is a lovely, beautifully recorded disc. The guitars are rich and clear....CRIPPLE CROW is a masterly record, and Banhart has a beautiful voice, full of teasing, warbling microtones."

Dirty Linen (p.58) - "[His] most accessible, and musically consistent album..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.60) - Ranked #28 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "An eclectic hippy opus with glitter on its face..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.110) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Veering between Spanish folk, strutting blues and campfire incantations, Banhart thins out the clotted intensity of his early work....CRIPPLE CROW is a mature work from a fascinating man."
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