BANKS : III Review
III a befitting title, is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Banks. The album was preceded by three smashing singles, “Gimme,” “Look What You’re Doing to Me,” and “Contaminated”. For those of you not familiar with Banks, she is none other than Jillian Rose Banks, known by her mononymous moniker, Banks. Though born in Orange County, California. She moved to Los Angeles when she was about one or two years old and lived in Tarzana, an affluent neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Writing songs was a passion for Banks and allowed her to express her emotions after her parent’s divorce at 15. She explains that she “felt very alone and helpless. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling or who to talk to.” Music clearly is a vehicle of self expression for Banks, with three albums to her name thus far, Goddess (2014), The Altar (2016) and now III Banks is poised for another landmark year.
“Gimme” begins with a rhythmic vocals sample that segues into a catchy synth bass line. Banks’ vocals enter and instantly one can hear the rhythmic and energetic direction in which she sings. Her voice is processed with an electro pop/EDM sound, which does match the surrounding instruments. The drums build and layer in as well to build the energy. The vocals harmonies are a nice touch. The chorus has an exciting keyboard figure and interesting counterpoint. The track has many feels which keeps the interest propelling. The influences from electronica and EDM are throughout the track and fit Banks’ vocal style and delivery perfectly.
Opening as a ballad and developing into a mid-tempo swoon, “Look What You’re Doing To Me [feat. Francis and the Lights]” has some of the best singing on the album. The vocal counterpoint and harmonies are excellent. The relaxed pulse lets the vocalist stretch-out and show their chops. All through the song, there are vocal parts everywhere and some of the best lines are the background counterpoint. The male/female sound is wonderful. The bridge has some impressive male falsetto singing in the background. This tune is all about the singing. Banks made a great decision inviting Francis and the Lights, great job all around.
Banks has an appealing sound that fits nicely in the electro pop/EDM idiom. Her crisp melodies and energetic delivery offer a sizzling listen. Her latest album III builds upon the solid songwriting in her previous albums, but with a prism of maturity as a woman. Her lyrics are deepened and her emotionally charged songs resonate her transformative sensibilities as an artist.
July 12, 2019