Banks is an alt-R&B Pop singer, I don’t really know, there are so many labels out there to choose from that you just hope one of them ‘fits’. Call her the ‘American FKA Twigs’ and it’ll make sense to someone. Banks, (Jillian Banks) has brought attention to herself with her first two E.P.’s, London being the one that brought her to my attention and since then I’ve been looking forward to a full album as the songs from her E.P.’s and the singles that have been released leading up to Goddess have been enjoyable.
However, with this debut full length, Banks already feels a tired name to me. The album is just under an hour, and that’s if you’re listening to the standard edition. With 14 tracks, and fourteen long tracks that just seem to bounce around on the spot painting the walls the same shade of off grey with red paintbrushes and calling the room ‘vibrant’ because there are a dozen painters present all using red paintbrushes and you don’t realise until after that you were entirely fixated on the red paintbrushes thus skewing your perception on the room as being ‘vibrant’ in the first place.
‘Alibi’ is boring, but then ‘Goddess’ is great; its glitchy make-up and Bank’s sensual vocals tying with the watery bass mix together to make the Banks appeal. ‘Waiting Game’ is off the London E.P. along with ‘This is What it Feels Like’ and ‘Change’, 3 out of 4 tracks from the E.P. are on this album and I feel at a loss because with these tracks on her debut, the overall sonic feel to the album feels hindered, it feels stale. However the issue with the inclusion of these tracks is that I like these tracks, these are among the few songs that I like from the album and without them, the album would actually be worse off because the other songs feel so asleep.
‘Brain’ is good though, Shlohmo’s production gives Banks her best song to date. It surfs some cool waves and explodes like a Kraken surfacing when the chorus is hit, if there is really a chorus as you could argue that ‘nothing happens’ for two minutes and it’s just Banks being sultry and moody.
‘You Should Know Where I’m Coming From’ is the token ballad, so then what’s ‘Under the Table’, token ballad soft piano indie-album album closer? ‘Stick’ and ‘Fuck em Only We Know’ are mere blips on a radar, the only redeeming factor in the latter are some bass lines that sound as if they’re from an XXYYXX song and ‘Drowning’ loses it’s appeal when you realise the rest of the album basically follows off from it.
‘Beggin For Thread’ can join the other songs from London alongside ‘Brain’ and ‘Goddess’ on my ‘revised’ tracklisting making Goddess into a third 6-track E.P. ‘Beggin For Thread’ has a powerful exciting and assertive chorus and clear song structure that Banks uses to her advantage and rises above the instrumentation instead of boring her and the listener into a comatose.
I don’t really know what there is to like on this album. Outside of the tracks that have already been released and that you can buy separately as they are singles, there is nothing. No surprises, no change of mood just some average Urban Outfitters fodder that will be played on Crosley’s and tumbled and captioned ‘OMG best boyfriend/girlfriend/parent ever, cant believe I just got a record player and a Banks Vinyl!’ – when really if they were the ‘best’ they would have purchased a proper turntable that won’t scratch up the LP of this mediocre record, or maybe it needs a good scratching to erase the half of this album that is utterly unremarkable and is about as exciting as finding out that the corner shop do actually stock Johnson’s Cotton Buds which is now saving you a thirty second walk because the pharmacy is just three doors down.
Banks may be ‘sexy’, and she may have the appeal of a ‘Goddess’, but I wanted a whole album of appeal, and it’s just not enough.