Banhart has quickly evolved from a wellspring of barefoot troubadour pathos and fractured imagery into an indie-rock celebrity minstrel; on Cripple Crow, he takes full advantage of both his image and his talents, crafting the finest cosmic folk-pop blowout you could hope for. Tracks like "Now That I Know" and "Hey Mama Wolf" unfold like campfire songs for the staff of American Apparel (this is a good thing), while more than a few tracks adventure into frolicking Latin folk. Occasionally he lapses into overtly loopy lyrics (Some people ride a cat just for riding a cat's sake) that smack of calculated oddness, but at his best, Banhart channels ghosts that are odd, unsettling, and entrancing. Perhaps it's just a cautionary tale of a talented young prince in need of an editor.
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