Admirable creativiely but lacks excitement
Jade Kupoluyi

17:05 30th September 2016

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Ever since BANKS made a name for herself through her initial releases on Soundcloud a few years ago, there has always been three things that have stood out about her musicality – the introspectiveness of her song writing, the dynamic range of her vocals and her shadowy alt-RnB choice of production.

‘The Altar’ almost feels as if the listener is being commanded by BANKS, real name Gillian Banks, to her journey of self-exploration, in her attempt to understand one’s self amidst of her personal experiences. She appears more confident compared to her debut album, ‘Goddess’. The 13-track sophomore dives straight into the album’s attention-grabbing singles ‘Gemini Feed’ and ‘Fuck With Myself’. The latter finds Banks assertively singing “cause my loves so good, so I fuck with myself more than anybody else”.

This self-affirmation sets the reflective tone for what’s to come as Banks goes back and forth between confessing her honest emotions as well as reinforcing the essence of self-love, resilience and assurance. On ‘Weaker Girl’, Banks reveals to a love interest “I think you need a weaker girl, kinda like the girl I used to be”.

Banks’ ability to pick from her wide vocal range and expressively pour out her intimacies over gloomy electronic beats enables the listeners to understand her emotionally. ‘Mother Earth’ effortlessly illustrates this. As she sings in a lower range, her voice is perfectly wobbly and almost sounds like it’s going to crack. ‘To The Hilt’ deviates from the tone of the album with its pop-ballad melancholy piano keys and melody.

Despite resonating sounds similar to the likes of Kelela and FKA Twigs, it's Banks interplay between pop and RnB that has helped her to commercially stand out. However, whilst her craft and creativity in to be admired, ‘The Altar’ lacks the excitement that was much hoped for.


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Photo: Press