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Banks

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: MATADOR.
  • ASIN: B008U2J308
  • Other Editions: Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 79,136 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

Paul Banks, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Interpol, steps fully out from behind his Julian Plenti alter-ego on his second solo album. Following 2012's limited edition (and now sold out) EP, the 2012 album is a tour-de-force of mechanised, minor-key intensity. Recorded in New York and Connecticut with producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Shearwater, Jónsi among others), Banks is by turns bleak, sad and exhilarating. Featuring some of Banks's most complex song structures yet.

BBC Review

What’s in a name? Paul Banks might be a good person to ask – the Interpol singer is releasing his second solo album not as Julian Plenti, the moniker he used for his first solo effort, but under his real name.

There are, of course, songs that sound like Interpol – Banks’ disembodied vocals shimmering over ominous, paranoid melodies on Paid for That, I’ll Sue You (which contains one of the most oddly and pointlessly litigious choruses of modern times, if not ever) and No Mistakes. But there are also those on which Banks, like he did as Plenti, moves away slightly from the band that made his name.

The Base pares down those synthetic effects for its gentle choral refrain, Banks proclaiming in his natural voice that “Now and then I can see the truth above the lies”. Certainly, it’s a playful acknowledgement of Banks’ identity swapping, but it still bears resemblance to his previous incarnations. The same can be said of the almost acoustic, gentle lull of Arise, Awake.

It’s on Lisbon and Another Chance that Banks really forges his own, individual identity – and ironically so, because these are the tracks which feature the singer least. The former is a semi-tropical instrumental, and an ultimately innocuous one at that, while the latter loops quotes from obscure film Blackout over an increasingly spooky, sinister, X-Files-esque leitmotif. It’s certainly the album’s most interesting and distinctive moment, though it bears little resemblance to the rest of it.

Normal service resumes by the end of the record, however, with the distinctly Interpol-recaling closer Summertime Is Coming exposing Banks’ frail humanity with its fragile, sorrowful, acoustic denouement. It is, alongside Another Chance, the zenith of this set. Hence, two wildly different songs serve as the highlights of this curious, curate’s egg of an album.

While it lacks focus and cohesive identity, the album Paul Banks named after himself does demonstrate that there’s more to this artist than previous form suggests.

--Mischa Pearlman

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Compared to the Julian Plenti album, this one is much more mainstream and conventional, obviously aiming at a wider audience. To my ears, it is what "Interpol" would have sounded like if they had opted for mass appeal (which fortunately they didn't). Where "Julian Plenti is... skyscraper" was innovative and filled with bold approaches and complex arrangements, "Banks" is filled with predictably structured pop songs with the usual easily remembered choruses and the dramatic culminations of previous Interpol songs. What is lacking though is the spirit of breaking new ground or the fertile experimentation one expects from the solo album from the leading figure of what is already a very successful and important band.

Having said that, "Banks" is a very pleasant album that grows on you with some almost great moments like "no mistakes" (great layered synths) and "paid for that" and I kind of like "lisbon" which almost everyone seems to consider a weak point. It's just that most songs could easily fit in a (weak) Interpol album, so what's the point of a solo release? Maybe these were ideas rejected by the rest of the band or the first indication of an impending break-up following departure of Carlos D?
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By Big Jim TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Oct. 2012
Format: Audio CD
Fans of Interpol will find much to like here. Banks' familiar vocals are really the signature of the band and he is in great voice here. There are mid-tempo shuffles like "Over my shoulder" which explores sixties influences with a poppy beat and more melancholy tracks such as "Arise Awake" The predominant sound though is that of the big production numbers such as "I'll sue you" and "Paid for that" which as you can imagine from the titles are quite angry tracks. All in all then a very worthy album which may be it's slight achilles heel in that the album doesn't have a killer track that leaps out at you straight away. It is a stereotypical "grower" and once you have listened to it more than a couple of times its delights become apparent.
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By d on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pretty good and it does grow on you,but for me it is let down by the two instrumentals.
Two more quality tracks instead and I would have given it 5 stars.
Quite similar to Interpol although I cant help feeling that as with other artists solo efforts, it would have been better with the rest of the band on board sharing and suggesting ideas.That said, there is no doubt Paul Banks is a quality song writer.
The sound quality is not that bad, although as usual mastered way too loud, but some attempt at preserving dynamic range has been made which does reduce ear fatigue a bit...Some other recent and not so recent cd`s have far worse sound,like the Killers and Coldplay for example.
Banks will do for now until Interpol get back in the studio.(if they ever do of course!)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After Paul's alter-ego album, Julian Plenti Is...Skyscraper, we don't have a radical change of musical direction from Paul, which is a good thing. His style and voice are what makes him unique and a true creative individual. Comments by another reviewer suggesting Carlos D was the reluctant bassist, most talented member and implied musical genius behind Interpol are glib and totally unnecessary. Interpol didn't break when Dengler left.

We are here to review 'Banks'.

These ten tracks have surpassed my expectations and will fill the void very nicely while Interpol are on their hiatus. Paul seems to be in a good place at the moment and I'm sure these energetic and uplifting songs reflect that state of mind. 'The Base' is an excellent upbeat opener and paves the way for more superb tracks. Standouts are 'I'll Sue You', the spooky 'Paid For That', 'No Mistakes' and the closing 'Summertime Is Coming'. Every track on 'Banks' has something special to offer the listener (if you want it) and shows the scope of Paul's musical creativity and influences.

Well done Paul, you've made a brilliant album that I'm sure I'll still be listening to and enjoying for years to come.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paul Banks shows his genius.

this album will just grow & grow on you. dont expect to listen to anthing interpol on this LP

Quirky, beautiful ,catchy, Stylish, and that makes for a very different cocktail indeed
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This album really seemed to go under the radar. I had never heard anything from it on the alternative radio station here in Ireland. I think it's a good album with some great tracks. Definitely more Interpol-ish than Julian Plenti is...Skyscraper, but still something a bit different too. The Base is best song on the album, and then Summertime, I reckon.
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Format: Audio CD
Despite his recent mainstream exile, it's increasingly clear that the most talented of the Interpol gang would seem to have been Carlos "where are you now?" Dengler. Nonetheless, the band needed a voice of sufficient gravitas to bridge their revivalist post-punk posturing and immaculately noir tailoring, and Paul Banks was and is that voice, a dour baritone of wholly distinct proportions.

If the rumours of Dengler being a reluctant bassist were true, then so too could those be of Banks being an unsure frontman. It's an argument certainly given weight by Banks's first solo foray, an LP which appeared in 2009 under the name of Julian Plenti. This alter-ego is no more however. Now we just have Paul Banks and an album economically entitled Banks. With this grand unveiling we might therefore have expected some great surge of confidence, a stepping out of the literal and metaphorical shadows of Interpol. Instead we frequently find Banks stripped back rather than bare.

There's an almost acoustic offering in the shape of "Arise, Awake", for example, but so too is there a raft of anaemic emoting, which causes Banks to run for cover, reverting to type be it subconsciously or not, just as he did as Plenti. Banks isn't hiding any more that's for sure, but he's also opening himself up for attack in the same manoeuvre - and he gives plenty of ammunition to the naysayers with the fairly terrible lyrical threats of the otherwise solid "I'll Sue You".

There are however silver linings amongst the running order and, interestingly, these most often occur when Banks steps back from the mic. The patient instrumental "Lisbon" is a good, showing range free of vocal comparison.
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