Text by Joe K.
Aaaahh, another dream pop, trip hop review…I seem to be falling into a trend here lately. Banks is actually Jillian Banks, an alternative RnB artist who has recently toured with the Weeknd.
Much like How To Dress Well or FKA Twigs, Banks offers morose, late night beats – albeit murkier and more distorted. Although her verses are sometimes more pop oriented than her predecessors, the lyrics focus on lonelier themes.
One advantage she has over her contemporaries is her ability to become a vocal beatbox; she is able to mold her voice to fit the mood of each track. One moment she can be a sultry songstress and the next moment, part chipmunk. Her versatility can be a blessing and a curse; on one hand, it maintains diversity amongst the tracks but it weakens the album’s cohesiveness.
Ultimately it’s a basic alternative RnB album and Banks only shines on a few tracks. “Brain” happens to be one o those exceptions, from the vocals to the lyrics (“I can see you struggling/Boy, don’t hurt your brain/Thinking what you’re gonna say”), it’s pretty damn near perfect. “This is What It Feels Like” is another standout. Its entire arrangement and the contortion like intro make for a sonically pleasing experience.
There are some welcome curveballs thrown in the mix with more acoustic-centered compositions like “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From” and “Someone New”. These tracks serve as nice intermissions from all the bells and whistles thrown at the listener during this marathon of an album.
The album chugs along, offering the same old all the way to the end – nothing extraordinary, nothing terrible.