Cripple Crow - Devendra Banhart
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. This album is nothing short of a miracle.
  2. Supplement[s] his prior folky ways with a rash of surprising styles. [16 Sep 2005, p.85]
  3. It’s the collage of styles that distinguishes this album: Cuban and Indian flourishes, Eisenhower-era doo-wop, the smoky Stax groove, bucolic British trad-folk, the eccentricities of American folk, of both the Dust Bowl troubadours and the Vietnam flower-children.
  4. 90
    Enthralling music that embraces you like your mama never did. [#69, p.87]
  5. A '60s psychedelic, experimental hippie-folk throwback, an invocation of lost, childish innocence delicately constructed with a deft musical touch.
  6. At once hip-shaking, high-brow, heartfelt, hallowed, and a hell of a good time.
  7. Aww, our little freak is all grown up.
  8. 86
    Banhart's most straightforward recordings yet. [#17, p.94]
  9. Cripple Crow is undoubtedly impressive, vastly singular but entirely accessible, and an inspired listening experience where Banhart again proves himself one of the more talented and charismatic forces in modern folk.
  10. All of the interesting parts of his music are still here, he's just written an album that plays up his strengths in more measured ways. The result is easily his best release to date.
  11. 'Cripple Crow' is way too much, in a way we don't get given often enough these days. Take it all in at one sitting and you'll end up bloated. But little and often? It's a cut-and-come-again treat.
  12. Much of the inensity burned into Banhart's previous albums is missing, and Crow is, upon closer look, largely a hodgepodge of references and genres... but Banhart manages to make the album sound cohesive. [#11, p.109]
  13. 80
    A mature work from a fascinating man. [Oct 2005, p.110]
  14. If gripes were to be made, one could argue with Crow's length, which at 74 minutes may be a little more whimsy than one can handle.
  15. Ultimately, Cripple Crow is a roughly stitched tapestry; it is rich, varied, wild, irreverent, simple, and utterly joyous to listen to.
  16. In the comparatively safe musical surrounds of 2005, he stands out as a compelling and utterly unique artist. [Oct 2005, p.119]
  17. Despite the piano, cellos and backing singers and the number of fleshed-out band songs, this sounds like nothing but a Devendra Banhart album.
  18. Cripple Crow is demanding because of its length - after twenty-two tracks on a single disc, nearly any artist would be difficult to tolerate. But the album is beautifully executed.
  19. Whether it's due to the backing band, or the better studio resources, Banhart seems more self-assured than ever as he sings his songs on Cripple Crow.
  20. Less folky and more eclectic than his past work, Crow offers ample evidence of growth in Banhart’s range as both a performer and a songwriter.
  21. While Rejoicing and Niño Rojo were clearer, simpler and more cohesive, Cripple Crow may actually be the better record. It feels exactly like the kind of album Devendra Banhart ought to have playing in his head -- a cacophony of cool sounds, a plethora of contradictory ideas, a patchwork quilt of psychedelically bright colors.
  22. Banhart's pleas for peace and harmony have a guileless charm, and in "When They Come" they assume an epic urgency. But his whimsy is often slight and indulgent. [9 Oct 2005]
  23. At the end of the day, this still isn’t a great album. It lacks continuity, much of a sense of rhythm, and the character that Banhart’s 2004 releases took on.
  24. Cripple Crow does a wonderful job expressing the range of Devendra Banhart’s musical interests, uneven though the actual payoff may be.
  25. More than anything else, 'Cripple Crow' is an album that it sounds like it was born amidst a fun, exuberant creative process.
  26. 70
    Though long, it's strong. [Oct 2005, p.134]
  27. Cripple Crow finds Banhart doing what many didn't want him to do or thought he couldn't do: make a pretty lackluster album.
  28. There are no outright misfires, but some songs... remain mood pieces that never build up enough sense of occasion to find structure within Banhart’s listless wistfulness.
  29. There is far too much irritating hippywaffle amongst these gems.
  30. 60
    If there's a signpost that Cripple Crow isn't quite the record it could've been, it's that the most engaging moments here recall Banhart records past. [Oct 2005, p.96]
  31. Taking the onus off his guitar playing dilutes Mr. Banhart's talent, and sometimes "Cripple Crow" makes of him what some people perhaps want him to be: a simulacrum of an obscure 1960's musician, a maker of albums that were so rare they never existed. [12 Sep 2005]
  32. 58
    Banhart brings the peace and love, but not the understanding. [Sep 2005, p.104]
  33. What has become increasingly clear is that Devendra Banhart needs an editor.
  34. Flags in equally fruitful and frustrating ways.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 3 out of 23
  1. Aug 14, 2011
    10
    One quality Devendra Banhart has is not to take himself too seriously and this freedom allows him to write some of the best songs that transcend age, race, country and any other border that stifles some other music. I will always love this album, pure genius. Full Review »