Opener 'The Base' displays the quirky vibe of the album, with Banks' plainly layered vocals over the shimmering guitar tones, with words such as “now and then I can see the truth above the lies” creating a perfect opening track. The Essex born Banks has some catchy tracks on the album, with songs such as 'Over My Shoulder' and 'I'll Sue You' containing laid back vocals with lots of reverb, with some great pieces of indie delight which sits just right alongside the rest of the album.
'Arise Awake' has a feel reminiscent of Radiohead, with a moody tone and a great build up which creates one of the stand out tracks. It's hearty without being too much, and with the chilled out vibe of this album, Banks gives the sense that he's producing music which he feels the most comfortable with. For many, being comfortable can get, well, too comfortable, but Banks' delivery through using the talent he has, and experimenting with his writing and recording process is what makes this album so good.
Sitting amongst these songs are some instrumental tracks, firstly with the relaxing 'Lisbon', a surf-twinged guitar melody, hitting all the right spots. It slows down the record, and is quite simply a beautiful piece of music. Banks' has said that hip hop is one of his biggest inspirations, and you can hear that in the experimental 'Another Chance', which eerily blends samples of people talking, with some wonderful bits of guitars and other instruments. It's not a track for everyone, but I think it's great to hear musicians having fun and playing around.
There are some moments which dip in and out of becoming a little bland, one of those being 'Young Again' which is a little repetitive, and perhaps not containing the same emotion as brilliant songs such as the raging 'Paid For That' which Banks' himself described as being one of the most honest songs he has written.“‘Paid For That’ is my rage song, kinda my way of getting past all the frustration,” says Banks, and he's right, it contains some wonderful lyrics, “Sometimes I feel I coexist with me, and one side makes me old, and one side makes me struggle.”
Last two tracks are the highlights for me with 'No Mistakes' containing some wonderful experimental tones and beats. It's upbeat and powerful, it highlights all of Banks' talents beautifully. The gorgeous 'Summertime is Coming' is the only track not written recently, having sat in the back of Banks' mind and it's inclusion as the album closing track is a great choice. It contains that beautiful vibe which started the album, and the production on this is near perfect.
Paul Banks has something to be proud of on this album. It has everything you want from a great album, and hits all the right spots wonderfully. With Interpol on hiatus, Banks has a chance to realise the music he wants to make, and his talent is really highlighted on this experimental album. Definitely an album to check out.
Banks is released on October 22nd through Matador Records