Avant-folk and freak folk artist Devendra Banhart releases “It’s Not Always Funny” from the Vast Ovoid limited-edition colored vinyl 12″ 45 EP due to be released July 24 on Nonesuch Records. “It’s Not Always Funny” is Banhart’s third release from the Vast Ovoid EP. Prior released tracks include “Let’s See” and “Love Song (Helado Negro Remix).”
The Vast Ovoid EP follows Banhart’s 2019 and 10th studio album, Ma, which includes the original version of “Love Song.” Banhart has been active since his 2002 debut album The Charles C. Leary. He has released albums on the labels Young God Records, XL Recordings and Nonesuch Records.
Banhart commented about the making of his latest release stating “While writing this song I was thinking about over-consumption, a kind that goes beyond objects, and starts to pig out on emotions … it’s never kindness or joy is it?”
“I was thinking about the touch of your eyes, and now that eyes have become our faces, I find going to the supermarket the most intimate experience, since the lockdown we have been hyper developing the language of looking into each others’ eyes,” Banhart continues.
“I was thinking about how they say it’s important to laugh, especially when there’s nothing to laugh about, I’m not sure if that’s true but it stuck with me.”
“It’s Not Always Funny” is a quiet and soothing retro psychedelic folk song which includes a horn section that sounds a bit like the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra’s “Tea for Two Cha-Cha.” The vocals have a melody which sounds a little like Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” with a Velvet Underground or Cat Stevens feel.
Like much of Banhart’s work, the lyrics for “It’s Not Always Funny” are surreal, “The touch of your eyes putting on my shoes / Seems unaware / Shaves my wife’s wig off / Without a care, then plays with my hotel.”
Banhart’s music videos often contain nothing but a drawing, including “It’s Not Always Funny”. Banhart uses art as an integral part of his songwriting process and states “Sometimes a song starts as a drawing, sometimes a drawing starts as a song.”
Regarding being labeled a “freak folk” artist, Banhart comments “If you were to ask me how I feel about any of the term freak-folk, it’s cool — you have to call it something– but we didn’t name it. We’ve been thinking about what to call it, and we just call it the Family.”
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna