Monday, September 30, 2013

London EP | Banks

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Some people have called her the 'American answer to New Zealand's Lorde.' Others have thought of her as the 'next Lana Del Rey.' But her real identity? Banks, who just released a debut extended-play, the London EP.

The extended-play opens with the placid "Waiting Game," which opens with some simple hums and a piano and then opens into a sea of electronic synths. During the chorus, Banks contorts her voice to sound nearly identical Ellie Goulding and the dark urban sounds compliment her nicely. I love listening to the song while driving at night, because the chilling electronic sounds encompass the interior of my car and it's such a relaxing listen.

The song that struck in me in the face is "This is What It Feels Like," a track that screams the dreary urban influences that everyone has been talking about. The chorus is composed of just a few lyrics: "Bring it down, bring it on / Bring it now, bring it up / This is what it feels like now / Scared enough / Bring it down, bring it on," yet it's one of the most entrancing pieces I've ever heard from a debut extended play (or full album, for that matter.)

The next track, "Bedroom Wall," seems like bit of an outlier on the London EP. The instrumental track is especially strange, considering how present the synths were in the earlier two songs. In "Bedroom Wall," the instrumental is almost muted, letting Banks' voice shine alone. There's nothing really special about the song, but it's a sufficient filler. However, a filler track on a four-track extended-play makes a bigger negative impact than it does on a full-length album.

The London EP concludes with "Change," a track with a combination of a marching band's drumming repertoire and electronic sounds; a combination that seems just as unlikely as the combination of bluegrass and house in Avicii's "Wake Me Up." It works alright, but the production could have used some finalization before being sent out; a few of the instrument lines seemed out of place and distracted me from enjoying the song completely.

Right now, I've got the first two tracks of the London EP on repeat, but I'm curious to hear what her future projects sound like. If she continues on the route of "This is What It Feels Like" and "Waiting Game," I have extremely high hopes for Banks, but if the latter two tracks are what she plans on doing, I may be a bit hesitant towards listening to her debut album. It's hard to judge an artist on just four measly tracks, so for right now I'll enjoy what we've got from her and continue to await more material.

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