Artist: Banks

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It’s hard for me to properly emphasise how much I love Banks.  I listen to her music on repeat daily, I watch videos of her performing on YouTube, I hang off her every word when she is being interviewed… I’m just the ultimate fangirl.  What I love about Banks is that her music is dark and vulnerable at the same time.  There is something so honest about both the lyrics she writes and the way she delivers them, letting us see her strengths and weaknesses simultaneously.  I find myself relating to Banks’s music in a way that is rare for me.  I can listen to her no matter what mood I am in and despite months of constantly playing the tracks from ‘Goddess’ and ‘The Altar’, I have not found myself bored with a single song.

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I recently just completed my debut album, Chemistry, and found that the songs I was writing towards the end of the recording process had more of an experimental side to them.  This edge is something that I would have to attribute to how inspired I felt after listening to Banks’s most recent album, The Altar.  In the past few months I have been through a lot of changes in my life, most of which have required me to toughen up and become more independent.  Songs like ‘Weaker Girl’, ’27 Hours’ and ‘Trainwreck’ became my anthems and really resonated with me during this period.  I love how cohesive the album is whilst allowing each individual song to have it’s own voice and message.  When you watch Banks in interviews, she is so intelligent in her answers but very softly spoken and incredibly sensitive, which almost seems at odds with her persona in songs.  Her songs are extremely emotional, but they are also dripping with power in the lyrics and production.  It is clear she has grown as both an artist and as a woman between the release of the debut album ‘Goddess’ and the release of ‘The Altar’.  Don’t get me wrong, ‘Goddess’ is also a fantastic album, with killer tracks like ‘Beggin For Thread’, ‘Stick’, ‘Waiting Game’ and ‘Brain’, however, I think ‘The Altar’ is even stronger as a complete body of work.  Both albums are incredibly creative and showcase how unique she is as an artist.

As I follow Banks on Spotify, I received an email today to tell me she has released a new single, Crowded Places.  Safe to say, I literally couldn’t wait to give it a listen.  Well I have now listened to it at least five times, and whilst I am a little surprised, I am not disappointed at all!  ‘Crowded Places’ oozes emotion and honesty like every Banks song and her captivating voice is highlighted beautifully.  The lyrics are raw, relatable and wonderfully clever.  The vocals and harmonies add meaning to the words and are simply stunning in parts.  The aspect of the song that I found unexpected was the production.  I always associate Banks with darker production and a real sense of drama, but ‘Crowded Places’ is much more mellow than her previous offerings.  The layers are still there, but there is a much lighter and softer feel to this song.  I find it similar in some ways to the newer material of another favourite of mine, London Grammar.  This more delicate track, whilst a little shocking, has grown on me with every listen and has left me very intrigued as to what the next album will sound like.  I can’t wait to get another email from Spotify notifying me about the next single.  The only thing better than getting my hands on the next Banks album would be getting myself some tickets to see her live, something I didn’t manage to do when she was in Manchester last month.  But with a new album comes a new tour, and this time I will definitely be there in the crowd singing along to every song.

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