Paul Banks | Banks

Matador Records (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  October 24, 2012
2.5 2.5 Stars


It has taken a decade, but Paul Banks has finally written his mission statement in song: "Death will come by ocean, I want that guarantee," he sings on "I Paid for That," a propulsive cut from his debut solo album. No, the Interpol frontman has never exactly been Mr. Rogers — his main band dabbles in suicidal guitar drama like a black art. But what's most surprising about Banks is its overall lack of brooding: most of these tracks boast a very un-Interpol-like playfulness, flipping through sonic textures like TV channels. Opener "The Base" finds Banks nursing his prettiest croon over glitchy electronics, mountains of guitar, and reversed Mellotron. "I'll Sue You" blends funk bass with droning strings and a vintage Interpol hook. But even though the album's zany unpredictability can be thrilling, it often feels like Banks is adorning vacant tunes ("Arise Awake," the plodding instrumental "Another Chance") with bells and whistles.
Related: Review: Joyful Noise, Alex Chilton | Free Again: The ''1970'' Sessions, Cardinal | Hymns, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, review, Paul Banks,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED