One day on SoundCloud, this girl calling herself BANKS posted up some music that she had recorded in her bedroom. At the time BANKS was finishing a psychology degree and used music as a release for her utter sense of loneliness and wonderment that most girls seem to hit between the ages of 23-forever.
Fast forward to September 2014 and BANKS has already toured with The Weeknd, played sold-out shows in New York, become some oblivious to her fame that she posted her legit phone number on Facebook and released her debut album, Goddess.
Goddess starts off in all the right places. This “right” place is starting off your album like the soundtrack to the life we are about to enter for the next hour or so.
This means instrumentals that paint visuals of smoky landscapes, late nights, looking at the mirror and pulling at your skin for several minutes, flicking through Tinder and then sitting on the train watching the world fly-by wondering which guy you want to touch next, but don’t, but do, but don’t.
What is this sound? Well lately it’s the sound of a girl playing chords on a synth that reverberate over one another until a beat pad is introduced.
BANKS’ sound is her voice and the way that only it, in its sexy yet reserved complacency, can really reiterate her lyrical content.
Songs like “Goddess” and “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From” confirm this as she sings from that insecure position of a woman scorned putting men in their place before succumbing once again to the heart.
This is a similar theme followed by the likes of FKA Twigs (suss our review here) however, less confidently. To be honest, as good as this album could be, it has come out at a time where we are in the wake of Twigs’ sonic boom LP1, the wake of Beyoncé’s feminist rampage retrospect and the eager wait for Grime’s next output.
This is a time where female artists are taking control over their bodies, over their sexuality and over their ability to complete their musical output from all aspects as a definitive expression of who they are (from creation, to production, to marketing, to finish).
Where Twigs went all out raw with her sexual prowess (“Two Weeks”) and Beyoncé pointed out the expectations of women (“Flawless”), BANKS tells us she does what she wants (“Beggin For Thread”) but doesn’t follow through.
Goddess was heavily produced by Shlohmo, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Sohn and she has vocally expressed how she has her management team take control of how her identity appears in the media.
Maybe there was too much hype with BANKS and this is what taints her debut release. Goddess is a successful first effort and it’s tracks like “Drowning”, “Warm Water” and “Change” (with their smart placement of beat drops and rhythmic formations) that show she is capable of creating content that goes beyond the safeness of synth-laden pop that is slowly becoming the mainstream.
As Goddess closes with “Under The Table” you unfortunately reach the point that is: “I can’t remember what the song two tracks back sounded like”.
Anyway, it’s the sophomore release that counts. We all know that. Push on BANKS, push on.
Hometown: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Latest release: Goddess, released on 5 September, 2014.
Sounds like: Lana Del Rey, Lorde, The Weeknd
Say what? “Waiting Game” was used in the 2013 Victoria’s Secret holiday commercial. Click here if you want to watch a pretty ridiculous clip that will probably ruin your personal interpretation of the song.
Paws and pineapples, Cat.