Banks-Goddess

Released 9/9/2014

4/7 stars

Banks’ debut album, Goddess, offers the listener lots of bass, lots of heartache and lots of songs that could be better. While her London EP was much buzzed-about, it seems that Banks’ momentum couldn’t be sustained for the full-length album.

The album opens with “Alibi,” a signature Banks-style bass-heavy, repetitive track in which Banks laments her behavior in a relationship. While it’s not an uncommon thing to base an entire album off of feelings of love and regret, Goddess feels oversaturated with this sort of misery at being misunderstood in the game of love.

The album style is sparse, with lots of bass lines and Banks’s characteristic vocals, which have the potential to be seductive and raspy, yet an equal potential to sound whiny and strained. Vocals definitely stand out in the piano-heavy ballad, “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From.” The lyrics dip into the cliché, but Banks’ voice, which is usually at a husky whisper, explodes into a surprisingly strong belt.

Most of the subject matter on this album is about being in a messed up relationship, which would be fine, if Banks had anything new to say about it. While we might not have heard this stripped-back R&B before, we are certainly familiar with the disillusioned, lovelorn angle. It feels contrived and a little dusty.

Although the album over all doesn’t dazzle, tracks like “Waiting Game,” “Beggin For Thread,” and “Warm Water” all sound really well done.

“Waiting Game” delivers glimmering vocals to a story about an ill-fated love affair between two performers and “Beggin For Thread” is a faster-paced pop song done right; the track has the potential to stick with you.

The aptly named “Warm Water” is a hypnotic tune that will pull you under Banks’ spell—if only for three and a half minutes. These songs are the promise of where Banks could take her music, proving that her talent isn’t all hype.

While most of the album doesn’t wow, there are moments of greatness. Banks has an interesting style that could develop into something really unique. Goddess might not be the best example of that, but there are definitely places to go.