Tuesday, 13 November 2012

''Banks'' Paul Banks - A Review

The title of Paul Banks second solo release is telling- his desire to be recognised as an individual artist and disassociate himself from Interpol is clear, and made all the more evident by his switch from the Julian Plenti alias to his given name. This was an issue that undermined Bank's debut in 2010 with ''Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper'', an album that felt more like another addition to the Interpol catalogue than a new direction for the frontman.

So how does ''Banks'' compare to its predecessor? Well in truth it's more of the same, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. ''Banks'' is most definitely a product of its environment and the frontman fails to establish the new identity that he set out to on the record, but it's a solid collection of songs from Banks that serves to enhance his reputation as a solo performer.

It kicks off with lead single ''The Base'', a stomping opener full of purpose and conviction that announces the album in style. From there tracks like ''Arise, Awake'' and second single ''Young Again'' are highlights which showcase Banks' trademark powerful vocals, while ''I'll Sue You'' and ''Paid For That'' are reminders of the strangely danceable tunes that filled Interpol's earlier work, in the vein of ''Say Hello To Angels'' and ''Evil''. ''Banks'' is not without a couple of duds though; the all too familiar ''Over  My Shoulder'' and ''Another Chance'' bring the record down, the latter comprising an awkward sample of movie dialogue from ''Black Out'' which is unsuited to Banks' music and stands out for the wrong reasons on the record.

Overall however, ''Banks'' is a surprising triumph for the Interpol frontman, surpassing the band's recent self-titled fourth effort and ensuring that Banks has bounced back from the criticism levelled at him following Interpol's latest. While it may do little to separate him from his original group, it proves the New Yorker's consistency as a solo artist and gives reason to hope there is a brighter future ahead for the acclaimed post punk outfit. However, if rumours are to be believed and Interpol are planning on a lengthy break, more solo work of this standard from Banks would surely be welcome.


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