Banks – London EP

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Currently on tour across the US with The Weeknd, Los Angeles-born Banks released her four-track London EP earlier this week, showcasing the reflective melancholy-pop she has become renowned for.

Beginning with recent single ‘Waiting Game‘, Banks confesses the difficulty of relationships for touring musicians: “What if I never even see you ’cause we’re both on a stage / don’t tell me listen to your song because it isn’t the same.” Whilst achingly beautiful, it’s technically excellent as well, with bass that thuds and shadowy backing vocals which weave their way through the sultry ballad. It’s easy to see why the SOHN produced track has garnered such high praise for Banks, and thankfully the standard remains high in the following track.

This Is What It Feels Like‘ is the longest track on the EP, but arguably the most memorable. Blending sparse electronic and R&B tinged beats with her trademark, alchemistic vocals, the influence is clear, as the track was produced by Jamie Woon. Having created one of 2011’s best albums, Woon is a veritable genius with regards to flecky beats and vocal samplings. It comes as no surprise finding out that this will be Banks’ next single, as she softly croons with husky tones over the delectably woozy beats.

Bedroom Wall‘ is a slightly more stripped back and sparse affair; produced by TEED with muffled, chiming synths and suppressed bass. It follows on from the two previous tracks in terms of the sorrow-filled vocal content related to the breaking down of a relationship, as does final track ‘Change‘. But perhaps that is just the problem with Banks. London is best listened to loudly on a rainy evening, which is fine, but in this EP she only evidences skill in performing lyrical content relating to one negative situation. Fortunately, whilst ‘Change’ still concerns the same topic, it is much more upbeat than the other tracks. Piano-led, it suggests exploration within the genre, which is needed if she hopes to translate her success so far into a full length album.

That said, as an EP it is musically sound, and sadness is something which is portrayed excellently here. The standout production on ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ makes this a track to remember, and shows promise for things to come.

7/10

The London EP was released on 10th September through Harvest Records.

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