• Record Label: Nonesuch
  • Release Date: Sep 13, 2019
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
Buy On
  1. Sep 13, 2019
    80
    The muted, lo-fi quasi-psychedelia of his early work has largely been replaced by mellow, contented songs and while it may take a couple of plays to fully establish itself it’s very much worth investing time in. Sonically, it has a notable consistency and poise with the quirkiness of his early albums now having given way to more conventional approaches.
  2. Sep 10, 2019
    80
    While many of the songs on Ma offer serious meditations about what life is all about, Banhart understands the importance of both joy and pain.
  3. Uncut
    Sep 9, 2019
    80
    These 13 grooving and textural song-poems are his most focused work to date and, although loaded with meaning, Ma never feels heavy or burdensome. [Oct 2019, p.24]
  4. Q Magazine
    Sep 9, 2019
    80
    Devendra Banhart's singular world remains as intoxicating as ever on the earthy, analogue-sounding Ma. [Oct 2019, p.106]
  5. Mojo
    Sep 9, 2019
    80
    Groovy and moving, in all the right directions. [Oct 2019, p.88]
  6. Sep 18, 2019
    75
    Beautifully sweeping, unhurried strings are coupled with his whispered tones and gossamer Bunyan-Banhart harmonies making this a standout in an album with no shortage of heartfelt, melodious, Latin-flecked folk.
  7. Sep 19, 2019
    73
    Ma is a record rich with takeaways, about how to get by and how to be kind in a social order that tempts us to be indolent and indulgent. It is alternately soft and steely, somber and ebullient, confused and confident—as true to life as “The Body Breaks” and “I Feel Just Like a Child.”
  8. Sep 9, 2019
    72
    Sometimes the love-y theme becomes a bit cloying. ... Even on a collection of highly structured songs with little room for improvisation, Banhart remains the distinctive artist he’s always been.
  9. Sep 17, 2019
    70
    Ma feels a bit like watching the sun slowly set: as it gently dips into the horizon, there are moments where the colours burst and excite, but mostly it's a careful and calm experience.
  10. Sep 13, 2019
    70
    While Ma isn't the most eclectic chapter of Banhart's work, it's an inspired and wide-reaching collection that goes all over the place without ever losing track of his restless creative vision.
  11. 70
    Ma, to an extent, substitutes freeform elements with a more bankable linear path, orienting between breezy accessibility and flashes of lateral sprawl; a pattern that serves to engage adequate interest. Honeyed highlights compensate for less tight moments, paralleled with a ponderous, but temperate pace; translating into an elegant offering from Banhart, despite gratifying a teasing fondness for excess.
  12. 60
    If you’re already a fan of Banhart’s recent work, this slots firmly into that leisurely, often lovely vibe. He has shifted away from the quirky “freak folk” of his early years into something just as odd, even subversive, around its edges, but far more relaxed and enjoyable.

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