Paul Banks - Banks
Nervy, twitchy, awkward: this latest collection by the Interpol singer is a singular, personal work and, sonically at least, some way removed from the fuller band dynamics of his day job. Assembled on a bed of shuffling electro percussion and largely muted guitar, it’s a work of dark, often hushed, intimacy. It peaks too soon, annoyingly. Opener ‘The Base’ is tremendous, a collage of mystical beats and imagery lurking just out of reach: “What I draw today will be recognised as shape / I spoke to the base, and the base says we wait.”
Much of the rest of this second solo effort (a considerably stronger set than his previous ‘solo’ effort as Julian Plenti) is similarly unknowable, despite Banks’ assertions otherwise. Stark but fragmentary, the lyric sheet offers up scattered expressionism rather than narrative or confessional, but the backing (mood trumps tune) is crafted to suit. ‘Over My Shoulder’ is guitar pop via The Psychedelic Furs, ‘Lisbon’ a stirring, euphoric instrumental. ‘Young Again’ is aching reflection, a lament for lost youth (“Time is disgraceful…”) As ever, it’s the voice that draws you in. A decade since that first Interpol release, it starts to now resonate with something approaching authority.