Label: Warner Music Release Date: out now! Website: Official Myspace If you’ve read my review for the new EP from Devendra Banhart (if you haven’t, read it here), you know already that I’ve ditched black boots and smudged make up in favour of long organic cotton skirts and flowers in my hair and I’ve totally embraced the gospel of folk - and this is thanks to the new album from Devendra Banhart, What Will We Be, out from 27th October on the über label Warner. To be honest, this is not the ‘typical’ DevBan album. As the single ‘Baby’ predicted, is definitely a step forward for the (former?) freak-folk wonder kid based in LA. There is everything in this album! From pop (YES, pop!) to the much loved Latin groove, rock, psychedelia, tropical rhythms, Brian Ferry-esque recalls and even jazz at the times. It’s pleasant and easy-listening, still eclectic and surprising, and there’s nothing of the pretentiousness of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. The album opens with the tropical ‘Can’t Help But Smiling’, and it’s immediately clear that we are in a different headspace from the previous works. Beside the much-talked single ‘Baby’ and the Roxy Music-esque (as the title suggests) ‘16th Valencia & Roxy Music’, ‘Angelika’ is another secure hit. Devendra’s voice sounds coming from far far away while he sweetly sings “Life’s for the living/and death for the dead/and love’s in your heart/and hate in your head”. And after 1’30” it shifts unexpectedly to more latin rhythms (and language) sounding a completely different song, groovier and sexier, and reminding somehow of the fusion tropicalia of Manu Chao. Another highlight of this album is ‘First Song For B’, a heartbreaking touching ballad, where voice and piano as only instruments manage to create a suggestive atmosphere (“Please destroy me, please destroy me, please destroy me” - don’t listen to it if you’ve just broke up with your significant other). ‘Chin Chin & Muck Muck’ once again shows all the eclecticism of this artist, sounding as at least 3 different songs in one. It starts a quirky swingy jazz, after 2 minutes shifts to an oddball pop story-telling, and after a ‘fake finale’ it goes back to a more folky vibe, leaving the listener pleasantly puzzled. ‘Rats’ belongs to another obscure territory in between genres, with a pop chorus, old school rock guitar solos and even some Animal Collectiv-esque interludes. ‘Walilamdzi’ is possibly the most typical Dev song in this album, a sweet lullaby on the shape of Cripple Crow’s ‘Inaniel’, still less ethereal with melancholic guitars and tongue twister verses. ‘Foolin’ closes the album with a reggae groove: punchy drums, languid guitars and dreamy choir. It’s the perfect song to close this great album, it leaves you with a smile on your face and ready to press play again on your iPod. What Will We Be is definitely a great album, marking the return of an amazing eclectic artist that despite his recent affiliation with a multinational label, remains one of the last true indie musicians, still able to deliver strong emotions, with a good dose of irony, and to communicate each time with a wider and wider audience, leaving everyone - old and new fans - certainly satisfied. Rating: 10/10 What say you on this? Sound off in our Fourum!