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Devendra Banhart: 'Mala' 

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The former bearded alt-folk guru of years past ditches the beard and long hair for a fresh take on minimalist art pop melodies with Mala. Devendra Banhart wrote the album alongside longtime guitar collaborator Noah Georgeson, continuing their genre-skipping recording style. Bouncing from techno to spare guitars with Banhart's always chimeric voice, the result is hauntingly beautiful, particularly in the left of the dial standout track "Never Seen Such Good Things." Mala is a refined effort from Banhart, written with much more economy than in previous offerings. A touching yet dark tale of love lost, "Your Fine Petting Duck" features Banhart's new fiancée, Ana Kraš. As the dancehall lights flash white, you realize it's only you dancing in the dark room. It's ephemeral, navel-gazing music at it's finest.

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