Tag Archives: TheWeeknd

Album review: BANKS “The Altar”

We’re not going to lie, when we were told BANKS had just
released a new album, we didn’t know what to expect. Jillian Rose Banks,
28-year old American artist, stylized as BANKS is still a relatively new artist on the radar on
music—and so far, known mainly for her opening act with The Weeknd.

Yet listening to her latest album The Altar changed
mindsets for the better. This 13-track album starts off similar to the aesthetic of electropop contemporaries Tove Lo and. BANKS’ starts her album off
shaky, with the vibe switching every which way. Her tendency to overlay with
her own vocals with additional vocals occurs consistently throughout the album,
in tracks like “This is Not About You,” “Love Sick,” and “Mind Games.” It’s
BROODS and it’s Ellie Goulding but she’s not quite sure which yet. Her decision
to start the track with “Gemini” was a good one, and it’s the one of the solid
hit on her record, and introduces her vocal range quite nicely. The next solid
hit on the album hit on the album is “Mind Games,” for its simplicity in instrumental
and synth overlay on her vocals.

It gets rough in the middle of the album with some remnants
almost a bit too reminiscent of Britney Spears in her bad music days—too upbeat
in tempo, too shrill in vocals, and too busy in overall production.

But then we breathe a final sigh of relief because BANKS
remembers her roots.  A former opener on
the infamous artist The Weeknd, and a young artist who still cites Fiona Apple
and Lauren Hill as massive influences on her music, Jillian Banks knows her way
around R&B. She slows down the pop and pulls it in. In the eight track,
we finally hear the gravelly substance in BANKS’ voice—not quite pain or any
sort of emotion of passion, but rather the multitude of different experiences. BANKS
takes the synth off in “Mother Earth,” and truly takes the song raw, with a
violin, a guitar, and her vocals guttural and low—finally in the style of Fiona
Apple. As she continues with slower, simpler, and a lot more soulful tracks
like “Judas” and “To the Hilt,” the R&B influence comes out. The favorites
off the track remind us most of her time with The Weeknd, on tracks “Judas” and

Poltergeist” due to the stream of fluid vocals and Weeknd-esque background
instrumentals.

It’s no doubt these artists have had an influence on BANKS
and it shows—but with her own spin. Although BANKS is similar to this menagerie
of artists, she maintains her own signature trademark: her gravelly and
almost nasally vocal range. She uses it to her advantage. And maybe on this
album, she tried to use her range a bit too far in terms of genre, switching
from blue to indie to electropop to R&B, but the one thing we can say is
that the girl’s got guts.

We’re excited to see her tour and take those vocals out for
a spin. Grab a listen at her album The
Altar
now.

Ariana Rivera

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