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  Oh Me Oh My ...  
  Devendra Banhart  
  Young God  
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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.

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