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Paul Banks – Banks

Tess Askew


Paul Banks is the frontman of one of New York’s finest outputs: Interpol. Banks is his second album and interestingly comes out amidst the release of the celebratory deluxe reissue of the bands debut, Turn On The Bright Lights. This album was crafted in his down time while on the road touring with Interpol. I’d personally list Interpol as one of my all-time favourite bands, so I approached this album with both tremendous excitement and caution.

It takes a few listens to adjust to the small changes in the musical landscape that we are used to hearing Banks’ voice in, but once the adjustment is made, it makes for a very interesting listen indeed. The sound is familiar enough to connect with but not so familiar that it is boring: just enough change has been made to be able to appreciate Banks (both the album and the musician) as a separate entity.

Interpol’s music is full of both dark and light, but the most striking difference here is that the light moments in Paul Banks’ solo effort are much lighter than what we are used to with Interpol. In fact there is a much lighter, more dreamy feel throughout, but that is not to say it is any less dramatic.

Over My Shoulder is something of a stand-out in which Banks is addressing his demons in a fresh light with a post-punk mixture of sounds as his backing. The album is an atmospheric offering, particularly in tracks such as I’ll Sue You and Arise, Awake. The Base was the first track released to
the public from the album and is a brilliant listen – a strong opener that leaves the listener hungry for the next track.

Paul Banks sounds fully in control of this album, which makes you feel he was fully in control of the creation of it. The album flows with atmospheric fluidity but is in no way predictable or boring. Banks leaves us wanting more: more from Paul Banks and more from Interpol.