Ape In Pink Marble
Devendra Banhart rejoins long-time collaborators Noah Georgeson and Josiah Steinbrick with his latest release, Ape in Pink Marble, Banhart’s ninth studio album. The neo-Folk singer-songwriter follows his acclaimed Mala (2013) without disappointment, maintaining his tradition of slight surrealism and intimate lo-fi.
The album was written, produced, arranged, and recorded in L.A., but don’t assume a sunny disposition. The ruminations of Ape in Pink Marble are often dark with loneliness baked into the subtle synths and stark guitar lines.
Opener “Middle Names” is a melancholic ode to love and loss with Banhart’s minimalist guitar plucks and soft singing mirroring the mood of his lyrics, “And I can see you now/Sitting there in front of the station/feel the rain fall down again.” The songs continue in this vein with gentle lulls into soft focus. Near the middle of the album, however, the eccentric “Fancy Man” and “Fig in Leather” interrupt the flow, leaving the listener slightly disjointed. The second half of the album readjusts these curious jaunts, returning you to the dreary, but equally dreamy spells that fit the overall tone.
Many of these songs explore character and narrative possibilities. “Good Time Charlie” ties a romance with a police officer with whimsical, unsuspecting pull and curious humour, “Sometimes I breathalyze/And he gives the DUIs/Ask myself once or twice/Is it love or just blood in his eyes?” The song “Linda” goes deeper, with a graceful glimpse into the sad realities of the female protagonist released in an “Angel of Montgomery” style, concentrated on the loneliness and experience of the first-person narrative, “I’m a lonely woman/Won’t leave a trace/You won’t remember my name/Won’t remember my face.”
Ape in Pink Marble leads the listener on a journey of loose narratives and thoughtful meanderings. The album brings together sonically evocative, minimalist textures with well-rounded lyrics to provide a satisfying experience that balances gloom with calming acceptance.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DEVENDRA BANHART – APE IN PINK MARBLE