Cripple Crow

For four albums now, Texas-born, Venezuela-raised Devendra Banhart has been getting serious mileage out of a rock archetype: the mysterioso folkie with bohemian leanings and poetry to spare. On the intermittently terrific Cripple Crow, Banhart's eccentricities — notably his impressionistic lyrics and a quavery croon that suggests Robert Plant as well as esteemed dead guys like Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley — enliven meandering tunes that alternately kiss you on the cheek and just kind of curl up at your feet. "Some People Ride the Wave" is a cute piano ditty that sums up Banhart's past as an international vagabond, "Lazy Butterfly" is a sitar-and-tabla-backed daydream featuring half-intelligible sneering and "The Beatles" ponders the early passing of half of the Fab Four before drifting into cartoonishly accented Spanish. But when Banhart sputters joyful melodies on charming, fully realized tunes such as "I Feel Just Like a Child," it's the sound of a talented space cadet finding his bearings.

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