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Banks - Goddess (Album Review)

Thursday, 11 September 2014 Written by Gavin Rees

The arrival of ‘Goddess’, Banks’ debut, will either burst or further inflate a hype bubble that’s threatening to Godzilla certain corners of the internet. At a time when downtempo, sparse R&B is approaching peak popularity - not to mention over-exposure - it’s easy to see why many expect it to do the latter. But, after spending time with it, it’s easier to see how it might do the former.

Jillian Banks’ vocals remain the star attraction, although the element of surprise and soupy emotion that accompanied her ‘London’ EP are gone. At no point does ‘Goddess’ dip below average, but it does spend far too much time hovering around that level.

Less experimental than FKA Twigs’ ‘LP1’, less of a pop statement than Lorde’s ‘Pure Heroine’, it threatens to take flight but never manages it. On the SOHN-produced Alibi and the ‘London’ holdover Waiting Game, Banks is fragile and powerful. There are flashes of what could have been, but the melodies never stack up to the early promise of their throbbing synth lines.

You Should Know Where I’m Coming From suffers from a similar ailment, its torch song theatrics let down by clunky lyrics: “What if I said I was just too young? What if I said I was built on bricks of carelessness and crumbs?”

Fuck Em Only We Know, though, takes its pop duties more seriously and largely works well, as does the previously released Beggin For Thread, which is giddily seductive as its percussive core pushes through a murky shroud. It’s head and shoulders the best thing here; a path for the future lit by runway lights.

Image is important, always has been, but on ‘Goddess’, the real heart of what Banks does well has been jettisoned too regularly. When it’s good it’s addictive, but often it fades to grey.

Banks Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon November 17 2014 - BIRMINGHAM Institute
Wed November 19 2014 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
Sun November 23 2014 - LONDON O2 Academy Brixton
Tue November 25 2014 - MANCHESTER Ritz

Click here to compare & buy Banks Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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