What Will He Be?
“Mama ain’t it wild when you can’t help but smiling?” That is the introduction to What Will We Be, the seventh studio album from Devendra Banhart. That first line sets a precedent for the rest of what is one of the most charming, cheerful albums ever created.
What Will We Be is strikingly clearer than its predecessor, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. Co-produced on the Isle of Wight, England by Paul Butler, the release lacks the intense instrumentation and overwhelming strength of the previous album. But in its place is a more radio-friendly feel and a knowledge that the track “Angelika” will more than likely be used in a television ad for electronics.
Although Banhart has been flying the “weird folk” banner since his inception into more mainstream circles, this seems to be where he drops it, instead favoring more conventional composition, though still grandiose at times. It appears he has grown into his musical skin, not necessarily needing to utilize shock tactics to attract an audience anymore.
Devendra Banhart is king of the raconteurs, trailing these enormous stories that fascinate, bewilder, and, above all, entertain. What Will We Be is much more than just a sixth studio album; it is another perfectly devised, ornately decorated steppingstone on the beautifully crafted career path of Banhart.