|Banks — The Altar (September 30, 2016)|
Banks — The Altar (September 30, 2016)
♦ψ♦ ‘Twitchy, needling vocals’. BANKS has always sought to match her music to beautiful visuals.
♦ψ♦ It’s there in her videos, it’s present in her photo shoots and it’s most definitely evident in her hand picked artwork. New cut 'Beggin For Thread’ is moody, seductive and delicious with BANKS supplying one of her most striking vocal performances yet.
♦ψ♦ Out now, the track comes equipped with an effortlessly stylish video. Embodying Hollywood glamour, the monochrome clip is simple yet striking, with BANKS’ obvious charisma shining through. iTunes Review: Banks is bold, brooding and adventuresome on her second album. Featuring SOHN and DJ Dahi, The Altar serves up brave confessions (“I’ve been a resentful kid,” she admits on “Poltergeist”) and vocal experimentation (hear her whisper through the chorus on “F*ck With Myself”). Don’t miss “27 Hours”, a tear~jerking break~up ballad packed with feeling. © Photo credit: Cristobal Rod
Born: 15 June 1988 in Orange County, CA
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: September 30, 2016
Record Label: Harvest
01 Gemini Feed 3:25
02 Fuck With Myself 2:55
03 Lovesick 3:21
04 Mind Games 4:49
05 Trainwreck 3:25
06 This Is Not About Us 3:03
07 Weaker Girl 4:16
08 Mother Earth 3:56
09 Judas 3:57
10 Haunt 3:42
11 Poltergeist 3:32
12 To the Hilt 4:37
13. 27 Hours 3:10
℗ 2016 Harvest Records
Producers: Tim Anderson, Jenna Andrews, Ben Billons, Danny Boy Styles, DJ Dahi, John Hill, Jesse Rogg, Al Shux Sohn, Chris Spilfogel, Derek Taylor. Review
BY KAREN GWEE ON OCTOBER 03, 2016, 6:00AM / SCORE: B–
♠ The alt R&B singer–songwriter coaxes universal emotion from her life on an adventurous sophomore album.
♠ On her 2014 debut album, Goddess, Banks anointed herself a deity. Now, on The Altar, she examines the pedestal she stands on, finding herself as immortal as ever but no less vulnerable. Before she broke through in 2013, Jillian Banks spent a decade honing her craft and making music, none of it for public consumption. In that time, she cultivated an unashamedly confessional tone and consistent first–person perspective in her lyricism, elements she relies on to this day.
♠ Where Goddess was often tepid and relied on material from previously released EPs, The Altar is nimble and far more enjoyable. Tempos are up and tempers have flared; the album’s edge is signaled most obviously by lead single “Fuck with Myself”. The lyrics are assertive enough (“So I fuck with myself more than anybody else,” she sneers), but Banks’ vocal contortions over the spare, percussive instrumentation really embody the message. On The Altar, Banks takes more risks with her singing, and though they do not always pay off — a particularly nasal, even painful point on the overproduced “Poltergeist” comes to mind — they add welcome texture to the album.
♠ Many of Banks’ producers on Goddess, including SOHN, Al Shux, and Tim Anderson, have returned on The Altar, retaining the impeccably smooth, haunting sound reminiscent of The Weeknd and Rihanna’s ANTI. But this time around they introduce new sonic elements to her hermetic world: guitar curlicues on “Lovesick”, warm strings and birdsong on “Mother Earth”, a man’s backing vocals on “Poltergeist”. These delicate production touches ground The Altar, even as Banks’ lyrical universe stays as insular as ever. The California artist has found her niche in interrogating confusing emotions, blowing romantic dramas wide open, and penning lines to ex–lovers and lovers–to–be. Banks tends to retread ideas over songs — see the declarative empowerment of “Fuck with Myself” and “Weaker Girl”, as well as the witchy pairing of “Haunt” and “Poltergeist”. From those consistent themes, listeners can easily discern the contours of Banks’ mind when she made The Altar.
♠ Banks is open about the diaristic nature of her writing, but she also cloaks her songs with enough dramatic and declarative force to obscure the biography behind the blown–out narratives. She artfully coaxes universal emotion from the particularities of her life instead of revealing them outright. For instance, from the chorus of “Gemini Feed”, listeners learn that the titular altar might very well refer to a doomed marriage proposal: “To think you would get me to the altar/ Like I’d follow you around like a dog that needs water.” But Banks doesn’t dwell on this, instead capturing the universal experience of being diminished by a romantic partner: “But admit it that you wanted me smaller/ If you would have let me grow, you would have kept my love.” On “To the Hilt”, where she yearns for a former lover (who was likely an early collaborator), she is a little more transparent and clumsily so: “Hated you for walking out/ I blew up and you were gone/ So they say it’s the industry/ But I miss you on my team.” Banks’ turns of phrase occasionally scan oddly, but they also pull her songs out of anonymous territory.
♠ On this album, Banks offers music that objectively sounds much like what she has created before. None of the material on The Altar will revolutionize alt R&B, future soul, or whatever awkward label one might apply to this nebulous genre. What is here, though, is proof of an artist still searching for a new direction. The left turns on the album are promising, whether it’s the darker, more menacing bent that starts with the excellent “Judas” through to the closer, “27 Hours”, or the hip–hop adjacent, radio–ready banger that is “Trainwreck”. Where Banks will go next is anyone’s guess.
♠ Essential Tracks: “Fuck With Myself”, “Lovesick”, and “Judas” ♠ http://consequenceofsound.net/ © Photo credit Williams + Hirakawa
By Maura Johnston, Sept. 30, 2016 / Score: ***
♠ “I fuck with myself more than anybody else,” Banks murmurs on the glassine “Fuck With Myself.” This idea of sabotage from all sides — including within — defines the electro–pop diva’s second LP, which pairs her whisper–to–a–scream vocal range with jangled–nerve electronics. The pinging “Trainwreck” combines rapid–fire lyrics about escaping a bad–news boyfriend, with hand claps, as if she’s at the center of a supportive drum–machine circle, and the emancipation-minded “This Is Not About Us” recalls wistful Latin freestyle. Banks’ list of grievances can get wearying, but the music’s dour detail is alluring too. ♠ http://www.rollingstone.com/
|Banks — The Altar (September 30, 2016)|