On freak-folk poster boy Devendra Banhart's seventh full-length album, he steps back from his previous acoustic ramblings. Some will be sad to find that his pulsating vocals and wacky storytelling have subsided, and that his vague lyrics have grown simpler. But anyone who's avoided Banhart's hippy-busker tunes now have a reason to give him a chance.
While the free love/dance meandering is still intact, Banhart branches out to embrace instruments - electric guitars, synths - that might not be usable in an electricity-free commune. Rats hints at rock, 16th & Valencia Roxy Music at disco, and Foolin' at reggae. Some might call that selling out, even though his previous efforts still made it into coffee shops and commercials.
Top track: Can't Help But Smiling
Devendra Banhart plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 27.