You know how music evokes a memory either because of what you were doing at that time you heard the music, or just because it would soundtrack a memory so well? Like how Avril Lavigne’s first album Let Go makes you glare out at the rain with a surge of vindictive hate for the guy who dumped you when you 14 (h8 u Luke.) Or how Hall and Oates’ ‘You make my dreams come true’ instantly makes you think of the film 500 Seconds of Summer? (I c u smiling.) Well Devendra Banhart’s ninth album, Ape in Pink Marble, brought back memories of a long car journey in the dappled light through the desert-like coast of Croatia in the summer.
Like it’s forerunner, Mala, Banhart’s new work has a dreamlike quality to it. The reverb, laidback singing style and smooth synths help create a chilled summer holiday-esque feel, best expressed in the latino sounding, ‘Theme for a Taiwanese Woman in Lime Green,’ which uses guitar lines reminiscent of ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and ‘Hotel California.’
Despite this, much of the album is so laidback it seems lazy, with odd moments of completely unrelated material within songs, such as the ending of ‘Good Time Charlie’ and within the album. ‘Fancy Man’ and ‘Fig in Leather’ are the culprits of the album’s incongruity, but they are also absolute bangerz (n’ mash), with funky bass lines that make you want to dance.
Despite these criticisms, if you were to pick one song to listen to, pick ‘Linda.’ Unlike some of the previous songs, the sparseness of the track works so well with the isolation conveyed in the lyrics that I had to pull over on my mental car journey and have a little cry.