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No surprises here
on 8 November 2012
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?